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Dorothy Dehner papers

Creator:
Dehner, Dorothy, 1901-1994  Search this
Names:
Philadelphia Art Alliance  Search this
Willard Gallery  Search this
Graham, John, 1887-1961  Search this
Smith, David, 1906-1965  Search this
Extent:
4.5 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound recordings
Interviews
Photographs
Date:
1920-1987
bulk 1951-1987
Summary:
The papers of Dorothy Dehner measure approximately 4.5 linear feet and date from 1920 to 1987, with the bulk of the material dating from 1951 to 1987. The collection documents the life and work of the sculptor. Papers include extensive correspondence, business and financial papers, writings, interviews, printed material, photographs, student papers, one item of art work, and scattered personal papers and material relating to David Smith.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Dorothy Dehner measure approximately 4.5 linear feet and date from 1920 to 1987, with the bulk of the material dating from 1951 to 1987. The collection documents the life and work of the sculptor. Papers include extensive correspondence, business and financial papers, writings, interviews, printed material, photographs, student papers, one item of art work, and scattered personal papers and material relating to David Smith.

Comprising a series of biographical material are interviews (mostly untranscribed), personal papers such as notes on Dehner's biography and career, list of things taken from Bolton Landing, recipes, and a wedding announcement for her stepdaughter, Abby Mann Thernstrom, and material relating to David Smith such as a copy of his last will and testament, a letter of introduction (dating from their trip to Europe in the mid-1930s), and a chronology of Smith's life.

Correspondence consists of numerous letters and enclosures concerning both professional and personal matters. Correspondents include artists, museums, galleries, art dealers, researchers, curators, friends, and relatives. Correspondence documents Dehner's various personal and professional relationships, the active role she played in promoting and exhibiting her art work, as well as the key role she played in fostering art historical research (on David Smith, herself, and other artists of her era), and her many other creative activities, including her various writing efforts.

Found amongst Dehner's business and financial papers are records relating to various galleries and/or exhibitions, including the Willard Gallery and exhibitions at the Philadelphia Art Alliance and Parsons-Dreyfuss Gallery, and to various projects, such as the Committee for the American Participation in the Triennale and the Great Southwest Industrial Park, as well as scattered records relating to personal business matters and finances, such as lists, tax records, authentication of art works, and sales agreements.

Dehner's writings include poems (including one dated from high school and drafts of ones published in Tracks), various pieces on John Graham (including versions of a memoir, which were published as a foreword to the re-issue of System and Dialectics of Art and as an article in Leonardo) and on David Smith (including articles on their first meeting and on Smith's 1940 work, "Medals for Dishonor"), lectures and speeches, and various pieces on art and other topics. Writings shed light on other aspects of Dehner's creativity and concern. Also included are writings of others, some of which shed light on Dehner's life and work.

Also found amongst Dehner's papers are printed material, including exhibition catalogs, announcements, and clippings (on herself and Smith, and to a limited extent, on other artists); an undated etching by Dehner which seems to have originally belong to Garnett McCoy, former Curator of the Archives; and photographs of Dehner, her second husband, Ferdinand Mann, John Graham, and various works of art, as well as an abstract photograph by David Smith, dating from circa 1934.
Arrangement:
The Dorothy Dehner papers are arranged into 7 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1935-1982 (bulk 1950s-1982) (Box 1; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1927-1987 (Boxes 1-4; 2.6 linear feet)

Series 3: Business and Financial Papers, 1940-1985 (Box 4; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 4: Writings, 1920, 1951-1987 (Box 4; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 5: Printed Material, 1940-1987 (Boxes 4-5; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 6: Art Work, undated (OV1; 1 item)

Series 7: Photographs, 1930s-1986 (Box 5; 0.1 linear feet)

The collection has not been re-filmed to reflect the above arrangement. In an effort to provide continued access to the existing microfilm, microfilm reel information was gathered from previous box and folder labels and is provided, where possible, in parentheses after folder titles in the container listing below. Unfilmed material has likewise been noted. Researchers should note that reel numbers have not been verified.
Biographical Note:
Dorothy Dehner was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1901. Her father died when she was about ten and the family moved to Pasadena, California in 1915. After the death of her mother and sister, she was raised by her mother's sister, Aunt Florence. Dehner was exposed to art as a child, receiving instruction in drawing and painting. She studied drama for a year at UCLA in 1922-1923 before moving to New York with the intention of pursuing a theatrical career. In 1925, she traveled alone to Europe, where she visited Italy, Switzerland, and France and where she began to draw seriously.

Upon her return to New York, Dehner enrolled in the Art Students League intending to study sculpture, but, uninspired by the work of William Zorach's sculpture class, ended up studying drawing with Kimon Nicolaides instead. In 1926, she met fellow artist David Smith in the rooming house they shared. At her suggestion, he too enrolled in the Art Students League. In 1927, they were married.

At the League, Dehner and Smith studied with the modernist painter, Jan Matulka, and befriended Weber and Thomas Furlong, through whom they met the Russian painter and theoretician, John Graham. Graham introduced them to the avant-garde art world and ended up having a profound influence on them both and their work. Around this time, they also befriended other young artists, such as Adolph Gottlieb, Mark Rothko, and Edgar and Lucille Corcos Levy. In 1929, after a visit to the Furlong's summer home in upstate New York, Dehner and Smith bought a farm in Bolton Landing, which became their permanent home in 1940 and was later named Terminal Iron Works. They spent eight months in the Virgin Islands, in 1931-1932, where Dehner painted abstract still lifes of shells and marine life. In the fall of 1935, they traveled to Europe, where they met up with Graham in Paris, spent five months in Greece, and toured the Soviet Union, with other stops along the way.

During her years at Bolton Landing (from 1940 to 1950), Dehner progressed in her work, producing a series of paintings titled Life on the Farm and embarking upon a series of abstract geometric drawings in ink and watercolor. In 1943, she had a joint exhibition with Smith at the Albany Institute of History and Art. Three years later, she participated in the annual exhibition of Audubon Artists and was awarded a first prize for drawing; and in 1948, she had her first one-woman show at Skidmore College.

Dehner left Bolton Landing in 1950 (she was divorced from Smith two years later) and returned to school, earning her degree from Skidmore College in 1952. She moved back to New York City, and supported herself over the next several years by teaching at various schools, including the Barnard School for Girls. She had her first solo exhibition in the city at the Rose Fried Gallery, and studied engraving at Stanley William Hayter's Atelier 17. At this point, Dehner started making sculpture, first experimenting in wax and then casting her wax sculptures in bronze. In 1955, she began working at the Sculpture Center, and from this point on, focused mainly on sculpture with occasional forays in drawing and print-making. In addition to works in bronze, she went on to create sculptures in wood (during the 1970s) and steel (during the 1980s).

In 1955, Dehner married the New York publisher, Ferdinand Mann. That same year, she joined the Willard Gallery, run by Marian Willard. She had her first exhibition of drawings there in 1955 (which led to a solo exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago) and her first sculpture show there in 1957; she continued to show at the Willard Gallery regularly until 1976. Over the next several decades, Dehner's work was frequently exhibited in solo and groups shows at museums and galleries across the country, and was acquired for both public and private collections.

In addition to her art work, Dehner was also a published poet and writer. She wrote the foreword to the 1971 re-issue of John Graham's System and Dialectics of Art, and an essay on David Smith's "Medals for Dishonor," which was published in Art Journal in 1977. And two of her poems, "Past Tense" and "Two Lines," appeared in the journal Tracks in 1977.

Dehner continued to work into her nineties. She passed away in 1994.
Related Material:
Other resources in the Archives relating to Dorothy Dehner include oral history interviews with Dehner, October 1965 and December 1966, and a photograph of Dehner by Dena, 1966.
Separated Material:
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming on reels D298 (portions), D298A, 1269 (portions) and 1372, including photographs of Dorothy Dehner and David Smith, sketchbooks, correspondence between Dehner and Smith, an inventory, and some printed material. Lent materials were returned to the lender. To aid researchers, an attempt has been made to note the corresponding reel number for each folder in the collection container listing.
Provenance:
The Dorothy Dehner papers were donated 1967-1987 in increments by Dorothy Dehner. She also lent materials for microfilming between 1967 and 1977, some of which was subsequently donated. The art work in the collection most likely belonged to Garnett McCoy originally, and was included in the collection during processing in 2005.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. research facility.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Works of art  Search this
Sculpture, Modern -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women sculptors  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Photographs
Citation:
Dorothy Dehner papers, 1920-1987 (bulk 1951-1987). Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.dehndoro
See more items in:
Dorothy Dehner papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw94755f855-b54f-4a52-a95c-a8c0d6e92ba7
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-dehndoro
Online Media:

Con Safo Group, San Antonio, Texas, Organization (see also: Casas, Mel; Martinez, Santos; Reyes, Felipe)

Collection Creator:
Ybarra-Frausto, Tomás, 1938-  Search this
Container:
Box 8, Folder 33
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1971-2000, undated
Scope and Contents note:
(letter to Dr. Guy Bensusan, Associate Professor, University of Arizona, 07/22/1972; Con Safo organizational information: list of needs, meeting notes, mission statement - Brown Paper Report; "General Comments" [by Felipe Reyes?]; clippings; exhibition announcements; catalogs; photographs of Con Safo members; material for TYF's course on Chicano Culture)
Collection Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. research facility.
Collection Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Tomás Ybarra-Frausto research material, 1965-2004. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Tomás Ybarra-Frausto research material
Tomás Ybarra-Frausto research material / Series 1: Subject Files
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw94a9f4892-fea3-4b62-8121-7c311caea4da
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-ybartoma-ref550
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  • View Con Safo Group, San Antonio, Texas, Organization (see also: Casas, Mel; Martinez, Santos; Reyes, Felipe) digital asset number 1

"Abstract" (geometric figure)

Artist:
Saitoh Ryo サイトウ良 (born 1941)  Search this
Medium:
Silkscreen
Dimensions:
H x W (Image): 32.4 × 32.4 cm (12 3/4 × 12 3/4 in)
Type:
Print
Origin:
Japan
Date:
10/15/1969
Period:
Showa era
Topic:
Showa era (1926 - 1989)  Search this
Japan  Search this
Japanese Art  Search this
The Kenneth and Kiyo Hitch Collection of Modern and Contemporary Japanese Prints  Search this
Credit Line:
Purchase and partial gift of the Kenneth and Kiyo Hitch Collection from Kiyo Hitch with funds from the Mary Griggs Burke Endowment
Accession Number:
S2019.3.1484
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Collection
Data Source:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ye3ff035bfd-9721-414d-ad06-1ee5fe5824ae
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:fsg_S2019.3.1484

Snoopy -- Early Sun Display on Earth, (painting)

Painter:
Thomas, Alma 1891-1978  Search this
Medium:
Acrylic on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Smithsonian American Art Museum 8th & G Streets, N.W Washington District of Columbia 20560 Accession Number: 1976.140.1
Date:
1970
Topic:
Abstract--Geometric  Search this
Control number:
IAP 08583217
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_394594

Micro-Paintings, (painting)

Painter:
Davis, Gene 1920-1985  Search this
Medium:
Acrylic on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Date:
1966-1968
Topic:
Abstract--Geometric  Search this
Control number:
IAP 8G150073
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_478862

Untitled, (painting)

Painter:
Davis, Gene 1920-1985  Search this
Medium:
Acrylic on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Date:
1982
Topic:
Abstract--Geometric  Search this
Control number:
IAP 8G150037
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_478824

Red Oval, (painting)

Painter:
Davis, Gene 1920-1985  Search this
Medium:
Oil on masonite
Type:
Paintings
Date:
1952
Topic:
Abstract--Geometric  Search this
Control number:
IAP 8G150020
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_478807

The Committee, (painting)

Painter:
Davis, Gene 1920-1985  Search this
Medium:
Wash and ink on paper
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Smithsonian American Art Museum 8th & G Streets, N.W Washington District of Columbia 20560
Date:
1956
Topic:
Abstract--Geometric  Search this
Figure group  Search this
Architecture interior  Search this
Control number:
IAP 8G150021
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_478808

Blue Rectangle II, (painting)

Painter:
Davis, Gene 1920-1985  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Date:
1957
Topic:
Abstract--Geometric  Search this
Control number:
IAP 8G150028
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_478815

Red Rectangle, (painting)

Painter:
Davis, Gene 1920-1985  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Corcoran Gallery of Art 500 17th Street, N.W Washington District of Columbia 20006
Date:
1958
Topic:
Abstract--Geometric  Search this
Control number:
IAP 8G150029
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_478816

Yellow Rectangle, (painting)

Painter:
Davis, Gene 1920-1985  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Smithsonian Institution Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Independence Avenue at 8th Street, S.W Washington District of Columbia 20560
Date:
1958
Topic:
Abstract--Geometric  Search this
Control number:
IAP 8G150030
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_478817

Circle II, (painting)

Painter:
Davis, Gene 1920-1985  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Date:
1958
Topic:
Abstract--Geometric  Search this
Control number:
IAP 8G150031
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_478818

Grid, (painting)

Painter:
Davis, Gene 1920-1985  Search this
Medium:
Acrylic on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Date:
1959
Topic:
Abstract--Geometric  Search this
Control number:
IAP 8G150032
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_478819

Labrinth, (painting)

Painter:
Tedlie, Harry 1888-1983  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Woodstock Artists Association 28 Tinker Street Woodstock New York 12498
Date:
1958
Topic:
Abstract--Geometric  Search this
Control number:
IAP 64000029
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_478604

Black Axis #16, (painting)

Painter:
Crampton, Rollin McNeil 1886-1970  Search this
Medium:
Acrylic on burlap
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Woodstock Artists Association 28 Tinker Street Woodstock New York 12498
Date:
Ca. 1968-1969
Topic:
Abstract--Geometric  Search this
Control number:
IAP 64000071
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_478646

Textile

Designer:
Wiener Werkstätte, (Vienna, Austria, 1903–1932)  Search this
Medium:
Medium: silk Technique: block printed on plain weave
Dimensions:
H x W (a): 9.5 x 19.1 cm (3 3/4 x 7 1/2 in.)
H x W (b): 18.1 x 19.1 cm (7 1/8 x 7 1/2 in.)
Type:
printed, dyed & painted textiles
Textile
Made in:
Vienna, Austria
Date:
1903–32
Credit Line:
Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
Accession Number:
2005-8-30-a,b
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Collection
Textiles Department
Data Source:
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/kq4628e8c91-9d60-4e1c-8c44-07caeed2905e
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:chndm_2005-8-30-a_b
Online Media:

Sample

Designer:
Wiener Werkstätte, (Vienna, Austria, 1903–1932)  Search this
Medium:
Medium: silk Technique: block printed on plain weave
Dimensions:
H x W: 14.6 x 19.1 cm (5 3/4 x 7 1/2 in.)
Type:
printed, dyed & painted textiles
Sample
Made in:
Vienna, Austria
Date:
1914–22
Credit Line:
Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
Accession Number:
2005-8-95
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Collection
Textiles Department
Data Source:
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/kq42f306e05-ae7a-47ba-9e3f-591802704241
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:chndm_2005-8-95
Online Media:

Zakopane

Designer:
Marianne Perlmutter, Austrian, b. 1891, active early 20th century  Search this
For:
Wiener Werkstätte, (Vienna, Austria, 1903–1932)  Search this
Medium:
Medium: silk Technique: block printed on plain weave
Dimensions:
Height: 10.2 cm (4 in.)
Width: 13 cm (5 1/8 in.)
Type:
printed, dyed & painted textiles
Textile
Object Name:
Textile
Made in:
Austria
Date:
1910–17
Credit Line:
Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
Accession Number:
2005-8-97
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Collection
Textiles Department
Data Source:
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/kq43ce611b1-800b-4c49-86a0-32afe83e9d70
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:chndm_2005-8-97
Online Media:

Baummarder (Pine Marten)

Designer:
Koloman Moser, (Austrian, 1868–1918)  Search this
For:
Wiener Werkstätte, (Vienna, Austria, 1903–1932)  Search this
Medium:
Medium: silk Technique: block printed on plain weave
Dimensions:
H x W: 17.1 × 12.4 cm (6 3/4 × 4 7/8 in.)
Type:
printed, dyed & painted textiles
Textile
Object Name:
Textile
Made in:
Austria
Date:
1910–11
Credit Line:
Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
Accession Number:
2005-8-99
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Collection
Textiles Department
Data Source:
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/kq4b214fd4e-5f17-48b2-9b28-a8a765babdcf
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:chndm_2005-8-99
Online Media:

Arabesque

Designer:
Alexander Hayden Girard, (American, 1907–1993)  Search this
Manufacturer:
Orinoka Mills, (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)  Search this
Producer:
Herman Miller Furniture Company, Zeeland, Michigan, USA  Search this
Medium:
Medium: rayon, cotton Technique: twill weave with supplementary weft patterning
Dimensions:
Warp x Weft: 29 x 27 cm (11 7/16 x 10 5/8 in.)
Type:
woven textiles
Sample
Object Name:
Sample
Made in:
USA
Date:
1954
Credit Line:
Gift of Alexander H. Girard
Accession Number:
1969-165-38
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Collection
Textiles Department
Data Source:
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/kq4a07d6ee3-c2ac-4b94-b5c4-d0c76af16700
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:chndm_1969-165-38
Online Media:

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