Behind President Roosevelt’s Great-Granddaughter’s Art


Art at Heart

Laura Roosevelt

“I think you’re born an artist,” says Laura Roosevelt, a great-granddaughter of late U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor. “It’s just a matter of whether you let it become a reality in your life and can make a living at it.” Residing once again in her native Dallas, Roosevelt is doing what she was born to do: creating art on a full-time basis.

Roosevelt began painting 15 years ago while working at Sotheby’s and raising three children. Her initial stylistically derivative work eventually evolved into something abstract. “I started just letting paint do what paint does,” she says about the drips, splotches and squiggles that populate her canvases.

In December, she opened her studio, LR Art House–convinced, she says, that “art should be viewed in a manner in which it normally lives.” Clients can see her paintings in her townhome by appointment or at EC Dicken, the city’s oldest design showroom. “My work could seem intimidating in a gallery setting,” she says.

Roosevelt often references landscapes or architecture in her art, allowing shapes to barely peek through–like shadows–under countless layers of paint. Inspired by texture and travel, she loves to incorporate natural elements into each piece: earth and objects foraged along the Ganges River in India; sand from St. Barts or from her family ranch in North Texas.

“I want my paintings to capture the spirit and essence of a place or piece of architecture,” she says, “the kinds of things that well up inside you when observing the world.”