Sally Hazelet Drummond was an early minimalist whose lyrical, contemplative paintings of countless tiny points of color seem to produce a light all their own. She studied at Columbia University and the Chicago Institute of Design and is believed to have been the first woman to earn a Master’s degree from the University of Louisville in 1952. After travelling to Venice on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1952-53, she moved to New York City, where she became a member of the legendary co-operative Tanager Gallery on East 10th Street. In 1958, after seeing a retrospective of Georges Seurat’s work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Drummond began to employ pointillism in her own work. She continued to paint these works for the rest of her career. She described them as: “A radiant light using just color…no lines, no shapes, no background no foreground; no top no bottom. It’s just an experience of light reflected with color and value.” Drummond received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1967. In 1968, the architect Walter Gropius installed a Drummond work at the headquarters of the Avco Delta Corporation in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
While pointillism was about the optical, Drummond, in a passage quoted on the gallery’s website for her solo show in 2005, describes the effect of her work in terms of sound:
[…] like a humming, a drone, emanating from somewhere, a unified field, pulsing, energetic.’
Drummond’s works are held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, the University of Iowa, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., among others. Her work was widely covered in the literature, including a discussion of her work in articlea in Artnews in 1968 and 1969 and enthusiastically reviewed in the New York Times in 1962, 1963, and in 1968.