Gretchen Minnhaar is an artist and architect who grew up in South America and settled in Michigan in the mid-1970s. She began her education in the fine arts at a young age, and earned her first degree in architecture in the 1960s. She began working in Argentina, and after immigrating to Michigan continued work in the Detroit and Grand Rapids areas. It was after establishing her own business in West Michigan that Minnhaar returned to art, citing her professional training as a great influence on her work, as well as Italian Renaissance art.
Notes on specific works of art by Minnhaar:
Gretchen Minnhaar's "The First Supper 2000" was inspired by two painters: the Northern Renaissance artist Dieric Bouts (1415-1475) and Giuseppe Bozzano (1815-1861), both of whom painted versions of Da Vinci's Last Supper. While religious in nature, Minnhaar's personal interpretation of Bouts' work was one of male dominance and absolute power. In response she created a contemporary, all-female version, yet also tried to incorporate the spirited interaction between figures that was depicted in Bozzano's representation. Her works following became focused on problems such as gender equality in the workplace and the home. Her belief is that women, regardless of race or status, share common qualities that unite them as a group, and that their issues will be ultimately addressed in this new century.
The work in "Dialogue in Two Languages" examines her life as an Argentine women and her role in the world today where issues of feminism and cultural diversity are becoming increasingly revealed and explored.