Fay Gross Lansner was born in 1921 to Rachel Skorodok and Meyer Gross.
Fay’s first foray into the professional art world was as a student of fashion design at Wannamaker’s Institute in Philadelphia. Her extant illustrations for fashion advertisements are both precise and charming. In 1948, Fay met and married Kermit Lansner, a graduate student in philosophy at Columbia. Soon Kermit secured a teaching position at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio where the couple lived in 1948 and 1949.
New York in 1951, Fay was thrust into the height of the Abstract Expressionist movement. Armed with her exposure to European art history and Hofmann’s lessons, Fay quickly became affiliated with her American peers, including Willem DeKooning, Joan Mitchell, and Franz Kline. She was briefly a member of the Artists’ Club, but felt relegated by the founding male leaders. Soon she joined Hansa, one of the first cooperative galleries that had begun to proliferate in Greenwich Village and the lower midtown area. Fay’s first American exhibition was held at Hansa in 1954. Other Hansa members included Allan Kaprow, Jane Wilson, and Wolf Kahn. In the 1970s, Fay was often identified as a feminist artist.