Sally Pierone (born 10
February, 1921) is the former art director of the Marshall Plan who in 1952 worked at the
American Embassy in Paris creating
posters, booklets and displays to help rebuild Europe after World
A family counselor as well as an artist, Pierone created the image
of "The Raft", enlarging upon Virginia
's concepts of family roles by showing how four
personality stereotypes counterbalance one another. She is the
subject of a biography, Sally — The Older Woman's Illustrated
Guide to Self-Improvement
, by Judy Laddon.
Pierone was born Sarah Nettleton Paine on 10 February 1921 in
She was the second of two children born to
Clara Abercrombie Paine and attorney Alan Paine. Her sister,
Harriet, was a year older. Her maternal grandfather, William Ralph
Abercrombie, had been the first soldier to arrive in the small
settlement of Spokane in 1877.
The newborn Sally was a blue baby who suffered from inattention
because her mother was hemorrhaging during childbirth. Clara Paine
survived, but for six weeks the baby remained in the hospital. This
lack of early maternal bonding, in Pierone’s view, caused
psychological trauma that she addressed through her art.
Her father was a prominent attorney, eventually a partner in a
Spokane law firm that still bears his name, Paine Hamblen.
grandparents owned a family compound in nearby Hayden Lake,
Idaho, where Sally and her sister spent their
summers. Bing Crosby
seasonal neighbor and friend.
- 1936-1938 Pierone boarded at a private high school, Seattle's
The Bush School.
- 1938-1940 She attended Chouinard Art Institute (now
Institute of the Arts) in Los Angeles, studying with Italian artist
Rico Lebrun and becoming close friends
with fellow student Tom Keogh, who became a successful artist,
costume and set designer, and who married Theodora Roosevelt,
President Theodore Roosevelt's
- 1940-1942 School of Boston Museum of
Fine Arts. During the summer of 1941 she worked for
Cape Cod folk artist Peter Hunt, who was a national phenomenon,
painting bright, primitive pictures on cheap, antiqued furniture.
Pierone painted a four-panel screen for opera star Lily Pons.
Lived in New York
City with her Boston friend Mary Helen Brown.
Pierone worked as a full-time assistant art director of W. T. Grant
, the burgeoning chain of dime stores. She
reconnected with her friend Tom Keogh, also living in New York and
working as a costume and set designer/illustrator for Barbara Karinska
, costume director for the
New York City Ballet
1946 Returned to Spokane, where she took a job as artist in a small
ad agency, Pierone and Associates, owned by a young man, Bob
Pierone. They dated for four years.
Sally traveled to Europe with her friend Mary
Virginia Gordon, sailing tourist class on the Italian ship
Saturnia, arriving in Naples.
stays in Rome and Florence, the young
women moved to Paris, where Pierone stayed through 1952.
was in Paris that she took the job of art director of the Marshall
Plan, working at the American Embassy and creating posters,
booklets, and displays for the European Freedom Train. She also
drew illustrations for Newsweek
, the New York
and the Paris Review
European social scene
In Florence Pierone became friends with Arthur Penn
, who later became the famous film
producer. Their group of stylish ex-pats obtained recordings of
Broadway musicals, which they enacted during dinner parties at a
In Paris she remained close to Tom Keogh, who was drawing
illustrations for books and magazines, including the cover of the
first Paris edition of Vogue
. She was also close to Tom’s
wife, novelist Theodora Roosevelt, granddaughter of President
Teddy. She knew society arts patron Marie-Laure, Vicomtesse de
Noaille, as well as Julian Stein (Gertrude Stein’s nephew), French
illustrator William Pene duBois, and American humorist Art Buchwald
. Pierone illustrated Buchwald’s
book Paris After Dark
She returned to Spokane at the end of 1952 and fell into a
depression, beginning what became many years of psychotherapy. Her
marriage to Bob Pierone in 1953 did not prove happy, despite the
birth of their three sons: Nick, Peri and Dino. Bob Pierone, an
Army code-breaker during World War II, became a prominent Spokane
clothier. In her search to understand the source of her problems,
Sally studied with famed family therapist Virginia Satir and began
to gain tools for reshaping her life. Despite her divorce in 1974,
she built a fulfilling life as an artist and family counselor. She
created the concept of “The Raft,” enlarging upon Satir’s
personality stereotypes of the Blamer, Super-Reasonable, Placater,
and Irrelevant. In her 80s Pierone embarked on a new kind of
painting, based upon the teachings of Frenchwoman Michele
- Biography of Michele Cassou.
- Laddon, Judy: "The Disgrace of Col.
- "The Raft".
- Neely, Jamie Tobias: “Young at Art — As Sally
Pierone settles into life in her 80s, her first art exhibit in 50
years says it all,” The Spokesman-Review, 19 March
- Webster, Dan: “No Secrets Allowed,” The
Spokesman-Review, 23 February 2008 .
- Langer, Cassandra: Midwest Book Review,
- Herr, Laurie: “Portrait of an Artist,” ELDR
Magazine, Spring 2008, pp 28-31.
- “Slideshow: Sally’s Paintings,” ELDR Magazine,
- Growing Bolder Radio Show, interview with Sally
Pierone , 12 July 2008.
- Laddon, Judy: "The Angel in the Red Dress",
Setthestageforsuccess.com, 31 August 2008.
- Sargent, Joseph Sherman: “The Author’s Corner:
Spokane grande dame Sally Pierone and author Judy Laddon,” KYRS
Radio, 15 November 2008.