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Illinois Institute of Technology, 3300 S Federal St, Chicago, IL 60616

Esther Blanke (February 2, 1882 – October 2, 1978) was a prominent Chicago artist specializing in watercolors and metalwork.

Marie Elsa BlankeShe was born in 1882 in Chicago and attended the School of the Art Institute. She also studied in Milan, Italy, Munich, Germany, and London, England. Esther's sister was Marie Elsa Blanke, also a famed Chicago Arts and Crafts artist and lover of Jane Heap.

In Remembering Bix by Ralph Bolton, the author makes mention of Esther and Marie as the "spinster sisters who taught music and German at Lewis Institute (now Illinois Institute of Technology), a Chicago day college. The people one met at the Blanke's the artiest faggots, the grimmest dykes, the dirtiest poets, shabbiest painters, shyest stammering composers, drunkenest actors and most skeletal dancers."

Esther Blanke was part of the "Chicago group," founded with her sister Marie and which included, other than Jane Heap, Florence Reynolds, Elsa Koop, and Olive Garnet. The "Chicago group" was comprised of young women from affluent families who shared an interest in the arts.


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