In 2005, the Georgetown Library mounted an exhibition of Grace Albee’s prints curated by Christina M. Weyl. Titled Professionalization of An American Woman Printmaker: The Early Career of Grace Albee, 1915 – 1934, Ms. Weyl’s essay gives an insightful account of this talented and prolific printmaker’s early career, with a detailed context of her obligations as the wife of a famous painter and muralist Percy Albee and mother of five sons. The essay pays tribute to “Albee’s perseverance, intensity, and natural talent,” which won her the highest accolades from her peers by the end of her career. Her perseverance to pursue art began in childhood, as she withstood her father’s disapproval while receiving two Saturday School Scholarships from the Rhode Island School of Design. Albee went on to graduate from RISD in 1912, where she learned the basics of printmaking. For the next several years, she sporadically created and showed her prints. But in the 1920s, her career gained momentum steadily. She and her husband experimented with making color linocuts, and Albee began to show and sell her prints.
From 1928-1932, she lived in Paris, in the expatriate community of Montparnasse, where she was affectionately nicknamed la mère à cinq fils by her French neighbors. Her time in Paris, defined by creative output, exhibitions, and praise from French and American art critics, culminated in her first solo exhibition at the American Library in Paris in March of 1931. As she returned with her family to live in NYC in 1933, her course as a professional, autonomous printmaker of the first rank was set. The next twenty years were the most prolific of her career. She received many awards, including admission to the National Academy of Design in 1946, making her the first female graphic artist to attain the full rank of Academician. Her prints were accessioned into the top print collections across the United States and abroad. In 1976, eighty of Albee’s prints were shown at the Brooklyn Museum. She was an active printmaker into her nineties, passing away at the age of 94 in 1985.