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Gretchen Schoeninger Corazzo was born in 1913 in Ravinia, Illinois, and died in 2016 in Jackson Township, Illinois. As the daughter of artists, she was exposed to the world of art from a young age. Her parents were interested in unconventional education and sent her to the Heidehoff Schulte, a boarding school in Germany. Upon returning to the United States, the family moved to Los Angeles, where Corazzo attended the Chouinard School of Art.
Corazzo later moved back to Chicago to attend the New Bauhaus, which later became the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. She studied photography with Lazlo Moholy-Nagy and sculpture with Alexander Archipenko, both of whom had a significant impact on her artistic development. This education helped establish her as an artist in the 1930s.
During the early years of her career, Corazzo lived and worked in Chicago and other parts of Illinois. Importantly, she also spent time in Carmel, California, in the 1920s, where she met John Cage. The two formed a lifelong friendship that led to numerous artistic collaborations and connections.
As World War II began, she was living in Chicago. Her husband, Alexander Corazzo, painted and worked for the Works Progress Administration. Corazzo herself made dioramas at the Field Museum and created posters for the Red Cross.
Corazzo's social circle was filled with prominent artists, composers, and architects, including John Cage, Xenia Cage, Moholy Nagy, Peggy Guggenheim, and Mies Van Der Rohe. They were deeply involved with the Chicago art scene in the post-war years. Corazzo and her husband moved to Jackson Township after WWII, where they built their home and continued to host gatherings for their creative friends.
Corazzo exhibited her work at several notable exhibitions, such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1942. Her work, "Abstraction" (1942), showcased in the Exhibition by 31 Women, reflected her wide range of artistic styles and formats, influenced by her studies with Moholy-Nagy.
Corazzo and her husband had two children, Nina and Michele, who survive them in the United States. Throughout her life, Corazzo continued to create art in various formats and styles, leaving a legacy of innovation and collaboration. Her works and papers are archived at the Art Institute of Chicago, and her contributions to the art world continue to be celebrated through exhibitions and retrospectives.