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Mary Dill Henry, renowned abstract artist, dies

Renowned abstract artist Mary Dill Henry of Freeland died May 20 in Coupeville. She was 96.

By all accounts, Henry was a painter of great vision and integrity, a former student of famed abstractionist Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and an elected member of the American Abstract Artists Group in New York.

Henry’s artwork is in numerous collections, including the Portland Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, the Institute of Design in Chicago and the Whatcom Museum. She was the 2006 recipient of the Twining Humber Lifetime Achievement Award and 2001 Flintridge Foundation Award, and was a featured poster artist for the Seattle Corporate Council for the Arts.

Jane Beebe runs PDX Contemporary Art gallery in Portland, where Henry's current show ends at the gallery Saturday.

"I much admired admired Mary's absolute clarity of purpose in her art and life," Beebe said.

"When I first met Mary, she told me that she didn't have representation and that she was building a new studio," Beebe said, recalling that Henry was 84 at the time.

"While standing in front of a beautiful, big painting by Mary, I told her I would give her a show," Beebe recalled.

"Mary was a master," she said.

Henry moved to Everett in the 1970s to be closer to her daughter Suzanne, and in 1981 settled on South Whidbey.

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