Oct 26, 2011 - Sale 2258

Sale 2258 - Lot 481

Price Realized: $ 1,680
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500

Gouache and watercolor on paper, 1948. 330x443 mm; 13x17 1/2 inches. Signed and dated in ink, lower right recto.

Dorothy Dehner (1901-1994) initially came to New York by way of California, to pursue acting and dance, which she studied at the University of California, Los Angeles. She enrolled at the American Academy of Art in New York, but her travels in 1925 throughout Europe, where she saw works by Picasso and Matisse, convinced her to change course and pursue a career as an artist. She studied for several years at the Art Students League and there met the American modernist sculptor David Smith, whom she married in 1940. Similar to his interests, she exlpored more progressive art forms, adhering to abstract and cubist tendencies rather than simply representational imagery.

The couple moved to Bolton Landing, a farm outside New York City, where, unfortunately, Dehner's art was secondary to her duties as a wife (Her painting Life on the Farm serves as a psychological reflection of the mundanity then). It may be equally telling that the present painting, fraught with ghosly imagery, came at a time when her marriage was deteriorating; they separated in 1950 and divorced 2 years later. Dehner resumed her career as an artist, studying printmaking at Atelier 17 and returning to her much beloved medium of sculpture (see lot 482).