Irene Rice Pereira (1902-1971) was an American abstract artist and writer who played a significant role in the development of modernism in the US. Pereira's subject matter involves industrialism, mechanization, and geometric abstraction.
Born in Massachusetts, Pereira began to take night classes at the Art Students League in 1927, where she was influenced by teacher Jan Matulka. In 1931 Pereira studied at the Académie Modèrne in Paris under Amedée Ozenfant, and spent time travelling throughout France, Italy and North Africa. She had her first solo exhibition at ACA Gallery in 1933. Her work was heavily influenced by Cubism and Russian Constructivism, and is marked by an experimentation with materials, often painting on glass.
Pereira helped found Design Laboratory, a school of industrial design underal the Federal Art Project of the WPA. It was modeled after the Bauhaus, encouraging experimentation with materials, emphasis on functionality, and discouraging ornament. She was also an accomplished poet and author, publishing ten books of poems and essays, including The Nature of Space: A Metaphysical and Aesthetic Inquiry, 1956.
In 1946, the Museum of Modern Art included her in their 14 Americans exhibition, and in 1953, the Whitney Museum gave her a major retrospective alongside Loren MacIver, another pioneering prominent woman artist. Her work can be found in the collections of many institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Phillips Collection.