Kyra Markham

American (1891–1967)

Realist painter-printmaker, Kyra Markham had significant experience as an actress from 1909 into the 1920s with the Chicago Little Theater, in movies in Los Angeles, and from 1916 with the Provincetown Players in Massachusetts.

Born Elaine Hyman in Chicago in 1891, Markham studied at the Chicago Art Institute from 1907 to 1919 when, discovered by Maurice Brown, she left school to act. Though she supplemented her income from acting with work as a muralist and illustrator, it was not until 1930 that she returned to the study of art with Alexander Abels at the Art Students League in New York City. In 1934 she studied printmaking, including lithography, and took part in the Works Progress Administration artist’s program from 1935 to 1937.

Her paintings and lithographs are primarily realist in style and run the gamut from poetic landscapes to Social-Realist commentaries. Markham was awarded the Mary S. Collins Prize at the Philadelphia Print Club annual exhibition in 1935. She was a member of the National Association of Women Artists, the Southern Vermont Artists and the Deerfield Valley Artists.