Ann Purcell was born in 1941 in Washington, D.C. and raised in Arlington, Virginia. She received her B.A. from the Corcoran College of Art and Design and George Washington University, Washington, D.C., in 1973. While finishing her degree at the Corcoran, Purcell took a summer course with Washington Color School painter Gene Davis, who became her mentor and lifelong friend. Her development was also shaped by the artist’s colony at Provincetown, Massachusetts. There she was introduced to Robert Motherwell, from whose work Purcell has drawn much inspiration. Other sources of influence for Purcell are the cutouts of Matisse and paintings by Helen Frankenthaler and Mark Rothko.
She has had numerous solo and group exhibitions at prestigious galleries around the country including: Berry Campbell Gallery and Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York City; Hokin Gallery in Chicago, Palm Beach, and Bay Harbor Island in Miami; Dart Gallery, Chicago; Bernard Jacobson Gallery in New York; and Osuna Gallery in Washington, DC., Miami, and Coconut Grove, Florida; and the Misrachi Gallery in Mexico City.
Purcell taught painting, drawing, and art history for many years at The Corcoran College of Art and Design, Washington, DC, The Smithsonian Institution and Parsons School of Art in New York. She has been a guest lecturer and artist-in-residence of various universities and a recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in Painting, The Lester Hereward Cooke Foundation Grant for Mid-Career Achievement in Painting from The National Gallery of Art, a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant, Gottlieb Grant and a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant.
Purcell’s work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; the Santa Barbara Museum; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; and the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.