THE GRAND DAME OF THE GALLERY WORLD
REFLECTS ON HER PASSION-FILLED CAREER.
hat makes a person a legend? Is it living
larger than life or is it quietly making an
impact? Is it being the latest sensation or having a
lifetime of experience? For Edith Baker, her subtle,
determined perseverance has earned her that title
and has made her the éminence grise of the Texas
contemporary art world. Her calm demeanor and
sage advice have inspired a generation of artists and
gallerists. In 1997 the Legends Award, formerly given
by the Dallas Visual Arts Center, made the title official.
In her long life she has been an artist, teacher, gallerist,
“My love for art started in childhood,” she says.
“From the time I was six or seven I copied everything.”
Although Baker had no formal art training before
arriving in the U.S., she spent time with artists. “I didn’t
go to museums or galleries, but I was in an art crowd,”
she says of her college days in her native Bulgaria.
Rather than studying art at The American College Sofia,
Baker studied languages and speaks several fluently.
While working as a translator at the end of World War
II she met Fred Baker, who was part of the American
Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Bulgaria. They
married in Israel in 1949 before moving to Chicago.