1928 -

Barbara Stauffacher Solomon

Born in San Francisco, Solomon trained as a dancer before studying at the San Francisco Institute of Art. After her first husband’s death Solomon pursued a graphic design career, moving to Switzerland to study with Armin Hoffman at the Basel Art Institute. Returning to California in 1962, Solomon was hired by landscape architect Lawrence Halprin to design graphics for the Sea Ranch development in Sonoma County. Solomon’s graphics combined the Swiss International Style with American abstract expressionism and Pop Art and were immediately celebrated by the design world. Her work established the “California cool” look and catalyzed a major graphic design movement known as “supergraphics.” In 1969 she married architect Daniel Solomon. Solomon eventually studied architecture and history at the University of California, Berkeley, from which she graduated in 1981. Solomon created designs for many significant landscapes, including the Turia Gardens in Valencia Spain, the Tuileries Gardens in Paris, France, and the “Ribbon of Light” installation at San Francisco’s Embarcadero, and contributed graphic design work for plans and reports including the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Commission's 1978 Report to the President and Congress. Solomon’s relationship with Minneapolis began in 1970 when the Minneapolis Planning and Development Division convened a forum to brainstorm ideas for the neglected Hennepin Avenue. Solomon was the forum’s lone woman, participating alongside venerated architects and landscape architects including Philip Johnson, Robert Venturi, and M. Paul Friedberg. She later designed the Regis Garden at the Walker Art Center’s Cowles Conservatory with Michael van Valkenburgh and an unbuilt parterre garden for the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Her work is characterized by bold shapes and a playful, almost surreal approach to the environment. Solomon has received numerous awards and honors, including the AIA Industrial Arts Medal and the Rome Prize. She has taught at the University of California, Harvard University, and Yale University, and published multiple books including "Green Architecture and the Agrarian Garden." Solomon has maintained a visual art practice throughout her life, and has exhibited works at the Whitney Museum, the Venice Biennale, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many others.