Born in Poland on November 15, 1918, Miriam Laufer grew up in Berlin, Germany. Her father deserted the family when she was quite young, and afterwards her mother placed both Laufer and her brother, Leo, at Ahava, a progressive Jewish orphanage in Berlin. At Ahava, Laufer designed stage sets for their theater productions and also worked in the art studio. In 1934 the Jewish children’s home emigrated to Palestine, settling outside Haifa.
While in Haifa Laufer spent a year studying graphics with Hermann Struck and painting with Zvi Mairovich. In 1938, she was admitted to the Bezalel Art School in Jerusalem on a scholarship. At Bezalel Laufer was a student of the artists Joseph Budko (who had attended Bauhaus) and Mordecai Ardon, among others. As an undergraduate she soon started receiving recognition for her artwork. Laufer graduated from Bezalel in 1941 and married Sigmund Laufer, a fellow artist and designer.
Miriam and Sigmund Laufer emigrated to America in 1947, settling in New York City, where they continued to pursue their art. The couple had two daughters, Susan and Abigail. Laufer worked as a calligrapher, illustrator, and graphic designer.
Laufer’s first solo show was at the Phoenix Gallery on Tenth Street in New York City, in 1962. Her paintings, prints, and drawings were in several other solo exhibitions, most of which were held at the Phoenix Gallery in New York where Laufer exhibited for over two decades. Her work was also frequently included in various group shows.
In the early 1960s, Laufer taught painting and drawing at New York University. Her own style was influenced and informed by both the women’s movement and the feminist art movement of the late 1960s. After returning to college at age 52, Laufer received a B.A., magna cum laude from Brooklyn College.
Miriam Laufer died in 1980.