Sarah Baker

Sarah Baker (1899-1983) was an American oil painter and longtime professor of art at American University. Born in Memphis, Tennesee, Baker grew up in and around her grandmother’s art studio. After her family’s move to Baltimore, she began taking art classes part-time at the Maryland Institute of Art. Baker would later go on to study at both the School of Art and Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, before continuing her artistic eduction on two trips to Europe. The first, in 1922, involved a scholarship funding a three-month trip to the Netherlands, France and Italy. In 1925, Baker returned to Paris for a year to study painting under Andre L’Hote. Upon returning to the U.S., Baker took a job teaching painting at the Bryn Mawr Prepatory School, beginning her long career as an art educator. In 1945, she was invited to teach in American University’s department of Fine Art, where she remained a full-time faculty member until 1964. Throughout her career, she exhibited widely in the D.C. area, where she would live until her later life. For over 20 years, she would also spend her summers painting in her studio on Southern Harbor, often using her sourroundings on North Haven for inspiration in her work.  Influenced by her studies in Europe, Baker’s work is characterized by Impressionistic color, composition, and brushstroke. An artist and educator with high and exacting standards of art, her legacy and influence are felt to this day.