Art Therapy Pioneer Edith Kramer dies 

“I must be doing something artistic - always, always, always!" 

After retiring to her native Austria, art therapy pioneer Edith Kramer died on February 22nd at 97.

Kramer, best known for her theoretical position referred to as “Art as Therapy”, was introduced to an exciting world of artistic and psychoanalytic thought during her youth in Vienna. She later fled Europe at the start of World War II and settled in New York working with children in a variety of school, residential, and hospital settings. In the mid 1970s she helped establish the graduate art therapy program at New York University.

As a pioneering author in the burgeoning discipline, Kramer’s ideas served as a counterpoint to Naumberg’s more established “Art Psychotherapy” model. Together the two author’s helped give form to a conceptual range of approach that continues to shape practice to this day.

Despite her ambitious career, Kramer steadfastly refused to take year round positions, preferring to reserve time each summer to retreat to the mountains and paint. Her innovative thinking, lucent writing, compelling teaching, and commitment to her own artistic practice will continue to inspire future generations of art therapists as she has done for so many already. 

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