Mina Loy

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Mina Loy and her husband Stephen Haweis at Académie Colarossi

Mina Loy (December 27, 1882 - September 25, 1966) was an artist, poet, Futurist, actor, Christian Scientist, designer of lamps and bohemian extraordinaire. She was one of the last 1st generation modernists to achieve posthumous recognition. Her poetry was admired by T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams.


Early life

Loy was born Mina Gertrude Lowy in London. On leaving school, she studied painting, first in Munich for two years and then in London, where one of her teachers was Augustus John. She moved to Paris, France with Stephen Haweis who studied with her at the Académie Colarossi. The couple married in 1903, at which point Mina changed her name to Loy.

Loy soon became a regular at Gertrude Stein's salon, where she met many of the leading avant garde artists and writers of the day. She and Stein were to remain lifelong friends. In 1905, Loy and Haweis moved to Florence where they lived more or less separate lives. Loy mixed with the expatriate community and the Futurists, having a relationship with their leader Filippo Marinetti. She started to publish her poems in New York magazines. She was a key figure in the group that formed around Others magazine, which also included Man Ray, William Carlos Williams and Marianne Moore. She also became a Christian Scientist at this time.

Loy and Arthur Cravan

Disillusioned with the Futurists' move towards Fascism and wanting a divorce, Loy moved to New York in 1916, where she began acting with the Provincetown Players. She soon became a leading member of the Greenwich Village bohemian circuit. Here she met the 'poet-boxer' Arthur Cravan, self-styled Dadaist and fugitive from conscription. Cravan fled to Mexico; when Loy's divorce came through she followed him, and they married in Mexico City. A few months later, Cravan set sail from Mexico in a small yacht. He was never seen again.

Back to Europe

Loy returned to Europe, partly to search for Cravan. She was unable to accept his death, and in 1920 she returned to New York, still searching. Here she returned to her old Greenwich Village life, acting and mixing with her fellow writers. In 1923, she returned to Paris and, with the backing of Peggy Guggenheim, started a business designing and making lampshades, glass novelties, paper cut-outs and painted flower arrangements. Her first book, Lunar Baedecker was also published that year. She picked up old friendships with Djuna Barnes and Gertrude Stein.

Later life and work

In 1936, Loy returned to New York and lived for a time with her daughter in Manhattan. She moved to the Bowery, where she became interested in the Bowery bums, writing poems and creating found art collages on them. She finally moved to Colorado to live with her daughters. In 1946, she became a naturalized citizen of the United States. Her second and last book, Lunar Baedeker & Time Tables appeared in 1958 and she exhibited her constructions in New York in 1951. In Colorado, she continued to write and work on her junk collages up to her death.



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