Priscilla Roberts was born in 1916 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey; within a few years she moved with her family to New York City. She spent one not-so-very-successful year at Radcliff College; then, the third generation of her family to go to Yale University, she attended its School of Art for part of another year; in 1937 she began to study with Charles Courtnay Curran (1861-1941) and Sidney Dickinson at the Art Students League; and finally, she enrolled at the National Academy of Design where she studied until 1943. Ms. Roberts does acknowledge one significant influence on her work, Johannes Vermeer. In 1940 she saw Vermeer's "Maid Servant Pouring Milk", lent by Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum to the New York's Worlds Fair.
After leaving the National Academy, Roberts tried her hand at commercial art, but found art on command alien to her nature, in less than a year she quit her job and rented a studio in the old Van Dyke Studio building in the Hell's Kitchen area of New York. In 1946 she was invited to become an artist member of Grand Central Galleries, where in 1961 she had her first one-man show. In 1951 she was elected an Associate Member of the National Academy; in 1957 she was elected a National Academician.
Her paintings are in private collections in this country and abroad, as well as several museums. Three of her paintings are in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum, New York, the Dallas Museum of Fine Art, The Butler Institute of Fine Art, the Canton Art Institute of Art, and the Westmoreland County Museum of Art.
In 1948, Roberts moved to Wilton, Connecticut, where, attended by her thirteen cats, she lives today a reclusive life in rather cramped quarters furnished with a certain lackadaisical charm.
Biography courtesy of Roughton Galleries, www.antiquesandfineart.com/roughton