Below you can view a selection of Vicci Sperry’s art and listen to a bonus track, in which Dr. Ann Braude shares her own experiences with these paintings.

Dr. Ann Braude, an eminent scholar of American religion and women in religion at the Harvard Divinity School, explores the importance of spirituality in modern art. Join us for a look at its influence in the work of twentieth-century abstract artists Vicci Sperry and Hilma af Klint. This episode gives special attention to Sperry, who was Dr. Braude’s grandmother, as well as a Christian Scientist for whom spirituality and art were completely interconnected. Her religious faith conjoined with her study under the famed art teacher Hans Hofmann. She also purchased Jackson Pollock’s last painting in a special effort to learn from it. Dr. Braude’s 2019 article in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin, “Paths to Abstraction: Spirituality in the Work of Three Women Artists,” delves into the spirituality of both Sperry and af Klint, as well as Hilla Rebay, another twentieth-century abstract artist.

Here are links to articles by Vicci Sperry on Christian Science:

Podcast guests

Dr. Ann BraudeDr. Ann Braude is Director of the Women’s Studies in Religion Program and Senior Lecturer on American Religious History at Harvard Divinity School. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Vassar College and holds advanced degrees from Yale University and the University of Chicago. Her primary interest is the religious history of American women, and she has published many articles on women in Judaism, Christian Science, and American religious life, as well as authored several books on religion and women in America. Dr. Braude’s current research focuses on spiritual influences in abstract painting. She recently taught a course titled “Spiritual Paths to Abstract Art” at Harvard Divinity School, examining various twentieth-century artists through the lens of religious studies.

Dr. Braude has a long-standing history with The Mary Baker Eddy Library. She first served as a key advisor during its establishment in 2002 and later helped to develop its fellowship program.

Bonus: Ann Braude describes Vicci Sperry’s paintings

Artwork by Vicci Sperry

All works below are in the collection of Ann Braude. Each piece is clickable, so that it can be seen at a larger size.

Vicci Sperry, Two Figures Dancing. 5′ Vertical. 1975. Ink drawing.

Vicci Sperry, Brief Encounter in the Orange Grove. 6’6″X7’6″. Acrylic on canvas.

Vicci Sperry, Full Blossom Orange Grove. 6’6″X7’6″. Acrylic on canvas.

Vicci Sperry, Orange Grove #3. 6’6”X7’6″. 1976. Acrylic on canvas.

Vicci Sperry, Orange Grove #4. 6’6″X7’6″. 1976. Acrylic on canvas.

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