“Maiden Aunts” by Dorothy Dehner

“Maiden Aunts” by Dorothy Dehner

DOROTHY DEHNER (1901-1994)
Ink and watercolor on paper
18 ¼” x 22 ¾”

Originally purchased from Kraushaar Galleries, NY.

Dorothy Dehner was one of the most important women artists in the United States in the mid-century American abstraction movement (the MoMa in New York has more than a dozen of her works in its collection). Unfortunately, she has been overshadowed by the titanic presence of David Smith (the most important sculptor of the Abstract Expressionist period), whom she married when they were both young artists experimenting with abstraction in the 1930s. Though she, too, devoted a good amount of time making sculpture, she was the more talented painter of the two (they separated in the 1940s, allegedly due to Smith’s feelings of competition with Dehner). Her pen and ink and watercolor works are the most moving, expressive and original of her creations. When the MoMa decided to buy one of her works for its permanent collection in 1953, it was one of these watercolors it chose.

The Jewish Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art have held major retrospectives of Dehner’s work. In 1993, the Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased one of Dehner’s watercolors from this same period. Her work is also in the British Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Phillips Collection (Washington D. C.), the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Museum of American Art, among others.

In a gilt-wood frame.

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