Born April 28, 1932 in Rotibor Germany, Beate fled Nazi Germany with her family arriving at Ellis Island on December 29, 1938. From 1938-1945, she attended Manumit, an "experimental" Christian socialist boarding school in Pawling, New York. Beate was one of roughly 25 Jewish refugee children hosted by Manumit during WWII under the auspices of the Progressive Schools' Committee for Refugee Children. (see Time magazine, 3/27/39)
Early education, influences and work
In 1954, after earning a BFA from Syracuse, she enrolled at Berkeley and earned her MFA studying under the abstract expressionist Milton Resnick.
In 1957, she moved from California to New York’s East Village with Mark di Suvero, the renowned abstract expressionist sculptor and painter (and a 2010 National Medal of Arts recipient). When interviewed by Joan Simon for Art In America (November, 2005), Mark credited Beate with teaching him “more about drawing than any drawing class I ever had.”
From 1958 – 1960, Beate, along with Mark di Suvero and 45 other artists that included Robert Beauchamp, Elaine de Kooning, and Patricia Passlof formed the March Gallery, one of eight galleries that were known collectively as the 10th Street Gallery Cooperative.
In a review of her 1963 show at the Feiner Gallery, ArtNews called her canvases "marvelously colored" and "constantly expanding" concluding the review with an encapsulation of the writer's experience as follows: "Shapes sink and rise like drum beats leaving other spots in a dead space long enough to vibrate, and then the relationship moves on catching other lights from other places. All of this magic is conjured with saturated light." (May 1963)
The Middle Years
In 1970, Beate and family were among the first generation of artists to move into Westbeth Artist Housing. A complex of 13 buildings that were formerly the site of Bell Laboratories, Westbeth was transformed into 384 live-work spaces for artists of all disciplines blended with performance and exhibition spaces.
Beate continued to paint and to draw while, sometimes stubbornly, refusing to promote her work. She famously refunded the proceeds from the sale of one of her paintings after realizing that she wasn’t ready “to let the painting go.”
Nevertheless, in 1982, ARTnews featured her and her work in their 80th Anniversary publication as an “Artists’ Artist” praising her “terrific drawing sense” and her “feeling for color.” (ArtNews, Nov 1982)
In addition to artists, discerning collectors including Nelson A. Rockefeller have also made it a point to include her work in their collections.
Beate was married to Spencer Holst, the author and painter, until his passing in 2001. Together, they had one son, Sebastian, and two grandchildren. Spencer Robert and Adriana Beate.
The Latter Years
Parkinson's disease, over the course of 15 years, cruelly stole her motor skills, her eyesight, and, ultimately, her life.
Beate Wheeler Holst passed away on May 14, 2017 leaving a body of work that spans over half of a century.
This site is dedicated to bringing Beate Wheeler some of the recognition she richly deserved but never had an interest in cultivating.
Shows and publications
2019 Exhibit Jan - Feb David Richard Gallery
1995 Exhibit May Westbeth Gallery
1993 Publication The Zebra Storyteller: Collected Stories of Spencer Holst
1993 Exhibit November Westbeth Gallery 80 Ink Drawings
1988 Exhibit December Downing Street Gallery, 15 Downing St. Small Works
1987 Exhibit December Downing Street Gallery New Works
1986 Exhibit December Downing Street Gallery Small Works
1985 Exhibit May Downing Street Gallery New Works
1984 Exhibit December Downing Street Gallery Small Works
1983 Exhibit December Westbeth Gallery Christmas Show
1982 Exhibit November Color reproduction in ArtNews as part of Grace
Glueck's article, "The Artists' Artists."
1982 Publication Cover drawing, All Soul’s Sermon Series, (NYC) September issue
1980 Publication Conversations, Journal of religious concern 4 Drawings
1980 Publication 16 Drawings and Something to read to someone by
Beate Wheeler & Spencer Holst/Station Hill Press
1980 Exhibit November Westbeth Gallery
1980 Exhibit July Gallery of Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM
1975 Exhibit November Westbeth Gallery
1972 Exhibit February Westbeth Gallery
1971 Publication Cover drawing for The Cymric Spell, poetry by
M. Harris /Aesopus Press, NYC
1969 Exhibit December Lyndhurst National Trust, Tarrytown, NY (110 oils)
1967 Exhibit April Lipchitz Art Festival, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
1966 Publication 1 drawing, Win (NYC) August issue
1966 Publication 2 drawings, El Como Emplumado (Mexico City) Jan. Issue
1965 Publication 1 drawing, El Como Emplumado September Issue
1965 Publication (a book) Drawings by Beate Wheeler/Hawkswell Press
1963 Exhibit September Feiner Gallery, 43 5th Avenue, NYC 4-man show
1962 Exhibit April Feiner Gallery
1962 Exhibit Group shows at Globe Gallery, 10th Street, NYC
1960 Publication 13 Essays and 16 Drawings by Spencer Holst and Beate Wheeler
1960 Exhibit May Stuttman Gallery, 13 E. 75th St., NYC
160 artists Spanish Refuge Benefit
1959 Exhibit June Nonagon Gallery, 2nd Ave.
1958 Exhibit November National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, NYC
1958 Exhibit October March Gallery, 95 E 10th St., NYC 23 artists
1958 Exhibit May Broadway Congregational Church, W 56th St., NYC
1958 Exhibit January March Gallery New Members Show
1957 Exhibit September San Francisco Annual Exhibition (Juried)