Above: Elaine and John Urbain | Right: Elaine Schmitt Urbain, Portrait of Josef Albers, ca. 1990s. Ink on paper. Collection of Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center. Gift of Michael Urbain.

Elaine Schmitt Urbain (Student 1946-1950) (b.1925-d.2004)

Artist and activist Elaine Schmitt Urbain came to BMC after studying at Milwaukee State Teachers College, her sister Elizabeth Schmitt Jennerjahn also attended BMC. While at Black Mountain College Elaine developed a close friendship with Ray Johnson and studied with Josef Albers, Lyonel Fininger, and Robert Motherwell. She met and later married fellow Black Mountain student and painter John Urbain.

A longtime peace activist, Urbain traveled to Rome with the Women for Peace Pilgrimage in 1963 and drew Pope John XXIII and in 1971, attended the Paris Peace Conference. She also drew several portraits of leading peace activists including Norman Thomas, Linus Pauling, Daniel Berrigan and Dorothy Day. In the 1990’s Urbain produced “Elaine Talks Back” a monthly show on continental cablevision in Westchester that combined art and political commentary.