Hildreth Meière (me-AIR) was an American muralist born in New York City in 1892. Meière’s mother had studied painting in Paris and New York and made art a large part of Meière’s life growing up.
Meière began her formal art training in Florence where she studied painting with an English artist. It was here that she was exposed to Renaissance and classical art and fell in love with “great beautiful walls,” the Renaissance frescoes. She continued her education in the United States at various art schools in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago.
Meière believed that creating a successful mural required a clear understanding of its architectural setting. She always considered the history and purpose of a space, as well as who would be walking through it. It was this quality that made her and Bertram Goodhue excellent collaborators.
Meière met Bertram Goodhue in New York and worked on several commissions with him. Goodhue believed that ornamentation and decoration were a crucial part of monumental architecture and Meière’s talent as a muralist complemented this vision.
At the Nebraska State Capitol Meière designed marble mosaic and inlaid marble floors, painted and gilded leather doors, wool tapestry, gold-leaf frieze on wood beams, stenciled oil-based paint on wood, and glazed ceramic tile mosaics set into Guastavino’s structural acoustic tile. Capitol thematic consultant Hartley Burr Alexander, a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nebraska, developed the decorative program, which related the history of Nebraska to the ideals of Western civilization, and guided Meière’s creativity to its full expression.
Up until her death in 1961 she acknowledged the Nebraska State Capitol as her crowning achievement.