Lilly Fenichel was born in Vienna, Austria and fled to Great Britain during World War II. After relocating to California in 1940, Fenichel studied at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles (1946-47), Los Angeles City College (1947-48), and the California School of Fine Arts (1950-52). In 1951, Fenichel showed at the Lucien Labaudt Gallery in San Francisco, and at the King Ubu Gallery a year later. In New Mexico she met and painted with Clay Spohn (1959.)
Fenichel departed from painting, moving into three-dimensional art in the early 1980’s before again returning to painting in 1990. Lilly Fenichel was one of the most important female painters in the early San Francisco Abstract Expressionist movement. As student of Hassel Smith, she became one of the best Abstract Expressionist painters of the Beat Generation and one of the few women who continue to paint today.
Her lyrical, calligraphic work was an extremely important contribution to the period, as she formed her own style and created her own message while paying respect to the works of Hassel Smith and Edward Corbett. One of the first artists to show at King Ubu as a student, Fenichel has continued her vision through her long and important career working in the Abstract Expressionist medium. Fenichel continues to paint and create art in her New Mexico studio.