Artist Rita Corbin, whose tender line drawings graced the pages of Catholic Worker journals for decades, died Nov. 17 from injuries suffered in a car crash. She was 81.
Corbin decided early in life to become an artist, choosing to major in art while attending Cathedral Girl's High School in New York City.
"The school was keen on turning out secretaries," she said, "but I refused to learn to type. I knew I didn't want to go into business on pure instinct, I guess. I needed a major and art appealed to me the most."
For Corbin, the artistic endeavor could not be separated from one's political and religious consciousness. She considered the work of the artist to be "a real struggle to bring some kind of form and feeling out of the materials one uses and the society one lives in."
Corbin's society included the natural world as well as the poor. Both were frequent subjects of her illustrations. Her etchings and pen and ink drawings of trees, flowers and birds have been described as lyrical celebrations of nature. Her figurative work has been likened to that of German painter, printer and sculptor Kathe Kollwitz.