Brenda Bettinson – The Ravensbrück Series

Ravensbrück panels 5 & 6

Brenda Bettinson – The Ravensbrück Series

MCVA Choate House Art Gallery
Pace University
Pleasantville, NY

April 3-April 26


Opening Reception

April 3, 12-1:30 pm


Opening Reception Guest speaker, Wednesday, April 3: Dr. Rochelle G. Saidel

Founding executive director of the New York-based Remember the Women Institute, and the author of The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp and three other Holocaust-related books. 

Gallery Hours: Mondays, 12-1, Tuesdays, 3:1-4:15, Wednesdays, 12-1                

We are happy to open the gallery by appointment, contact [email protected]



Brenda Bettinson with Self-portrait (2008) water-based media (20 x 30”)
photo credit: Melville McLean, 2008; © Brenda Bettinson Art & Literary Trust, 2024
Brenda Bettinson began teaching
at Pace in 1963, eventually becoming
Chair of the Art Department.
Brenda retired in 1990.

The Ravensbrück Series is Brenda Bettinson’s last cycle of paintings. These 17 works are mixed media and more specifically acrylic on panel, acrylic on board and panel, acrylic & pencil on board and panel or acrylic on fabric on board and panel. 

Brenda Bettinson was born in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, England, in 1929. On the eve of World War II, due to her father’s employment, the family relocated to the outskirts of London. Frequent visits to her maternal grandmother in King’s Lynn kept her in touch with Norfolk. 

Bettinson’s budding artistic talent was recognized and fostered by her art teacher, Adrienne Mason, R.A., at Watford Grammar School for Girls. Subsequently, the young artist studied at St. Martin’s School of Art and the Central School of Arts & Crafts (now part of the University of Arts as Central St. Martin’s) in London. She continued her education in Paris at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and at the Université Sorbonne, where she both studied and collaborated with Etruscologist Raymond Bloch. This collaboration took her to Tuscany where she participated in archeological digs under the auspices of the French School in Rome. Many of her drawings from the work in the field found their way into publications authored by Prof. Bloch.

Brenda Bettinson was an immigrant, a fiercely loyal and generous friend, a champion of the arts, a dedicated teacher, a fine musician who excelled at the piano and who sang in an octet during her time in Paris. She was an excellent raconteur, a person who cared deeply about the truth and facts. She was multi-lingual and apart from her first language spoke fluent French, Italian, Dutch and Russian, with enough German & Latin to get by. She was an avid reader with a remarkable memory and a deep appreciation of language and style. She loved conviviality, food and drink, the creation of elaborate meals often being a weekend pastime. Before settling down to a rigorous painting schedule during her Maine years, she had travelled widely in Western Europe and North America. Brenda enjoyed gardening, swimming, and walking with her dogs. There were always animal companions in her life. She also enjoyed target practice with a shotgun and pistol and would say “dead eyed Dick,” when she landed one of her frequent bullseyes. Her guiding principle was: “Never a day without a line.”

Brenda Bettinson died in November 2021 at her home on Barter’s Island with her canine companion at her side and her brushes still within reach.