Mary Heilmann creates abstract paintings with strong, active marks and a distinctive palette of bright colors. The artist's work is rooted in memory, which is frequently reflected in the titles of her works. Heilmann's extensive and prolific oeuvre encompasses a range of mediums: painting, ceramics, drawings and furniture.


Heilmann was born in San Francisco in 1940 and grew up in Southern California. The artist has a BA in literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MA in ceramics and sculpture from the University of California, Berkeley.

Heilmann moved to New York in 1968. The artist was included in the Whitney Annual in 1972. In 1975, Heilmann joined the Holly Solomon Gallery, where she showed regularly through 1981. The artist joined the Pat Hearn Gallery in New York in 1986. Until Hearn died in 2000, Heilmann was part of an unusually close group of artists and friends associated with the gallery.

Heilmann has had solo exhibitions at the Dan Flavin Art Institute in Beacon, New York (2017); the Whitechapel Gallery in London, UK (2016); the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City (2015); the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City (2008); the Camden Arts Centre in London, UK (2001); and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Massachusetts (1990); among others.

Heilmann's work is held in many public collections, including: the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City; the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, California; the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C.; the Secession in Vienna, Austria; and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden.

Heilmann has made prints at Crown Point Press in 1998, 2006 and 2017.

Heilmann is represented by 303 Gallery in New York City and Hauser & Wirth Gallery worldwide.

Heilmann lives and works in New York.