Hartigan was an American abstract expressionist painter. She was a part of the acclaimed New York School, a group of poets, painters, dancers, and musicians who were active in the 1950s and 1960s in New York City. She signed her early works with the name George Hartigan, in an attempt to achieve greater recognition. She began using her own name in 1954. She first experimented with total abstraction and then began to work with recognizable motifs and characters. She also worked in transparent watercolor paint and collage.
Grace Hartigan (March 28, 1922 – November 15, 2008) was an American Abstract Expressionist painter and a significant member of the vibrant New York School of the 1950s and 1960s. Her circle of friends, who frequently inspired one another in their artistic endeavors, included Jackson Pollock, Larry Rivers, Helen Frankenthaler, Willem and Elaine de Kooning and Frank O'Hara. Her paintings are held by numerous major institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. As director of the Maryland Institute College of Art's Hoffberger School of Painting, she influenced numerous young artists.