Born near Maidsville, West Virginia, Blanche Lazzell enrolled at the West Virginia Conference Seminary (now West Virginia Wesleyan. College) in 1894. After attending South Carolina Co-Educational Institute in Edgefield in 1899, she studied art at West Virginia University, receiving a degree in art history and the fine arts in 1905.
She moved to New York in 1907, and enrolled at the Art Students League, where she studied with William Merritt Chase and alongside Georgia O'Keeffe. Blanche Lazzell traveled throughout Europe in 1912 and took classes in Paris at the Academie Julian and the Academie Moderne headed by Charles Guerin and Charles Rosen. By 1913, Lazzell had returned to West Virginia and opened a school. In 1915 she attended the Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown, Massachusetts, which had become a meeting place for artists returning from Europe to escape the chaos of World War I.
In 1916, Blanche Lazzell and several other artists exhibited their work in color woodblock at the studio of E. Ambrose Webster. With the success of this show, the Provincetown Printers Group became the first color-woodblock society to be established. During a trip to Europe in 1923, Lazzell studied cubism with Fernand Leger and also received instruction from Andre Lhote and Albert Gleizes. She returned to America in 1924, and from 1937 to 1938 studied with the abstract artist Hans Hofmann.
Blanche Lazzell is known primarily for her involvement with the Provincetown art world where she first sojourned in the summer of 1915. She was a painter, printmaker, and rug maker. After a brief period when she was influenced by Impressionism, Lazzell developed a decorative, geometric and cubist style, perfectly suited to flowers and the houses, wharves and rooftops of Provincetown.
Artists flocked to Provincetown during WWI, when the doors to Paris were closed, and Lazzell described the feel of the town in those times: "Creative Energy was the air we breathed. It was in this quaint setting that the Provincetown Print came into being." And it was in the creation of the Provincetown Print that Blanche Lazzell was to excel. She once explained: "Originality, Simplicity, Freedom of Expression, and above all Sincerity, with a clean cut block, are characteristics of a good wood block print."
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