Andrew Dasburg

Andrew Dasburg
Andrew Dasburg, c. 1940s
Andrew Michael Dasburg

(1887-05-04)May 4, 1887
DiedAugust 13, 1979(1979-08-13) (aged 92)
EducationArt Students League of New York
Known forPainting
MovementCubism, Synchromism
Spouse(s)Grace Mott Johnson (married 1909–22)

Andrew Michael Dasburg (4 May 1887 – 13 August 1979) was an American modernist painter and "one of America's leading early exponents of cubism".[2]


Andrew Dasburg, Lucifer, ca. 1913, plaster of Paris, exhibited at the 1913 Armory show, n. 647 of the catalogue. Dasburg extensively reworked by carving directly into a sculpture of a life-size plaster head by Arthur Lee.[3]

Dasburg was born in 1887 in Paris. He emigrated from Germany to New York City with his widowed mother in 1892. After a severe injury, he passed the time in convalescence by sketching.[2] In 1902 he joined the Art Students League of New York on a scholarship,[4] where he was taught by Kenyon Cox.[5] At the League's summer school in Woodstock, New York, he studied landscapes under L. Birge Harrison.[2]

In 1909 Dasburg visited Paris and joined the modernist circle of artists living there, including Morgan Russell, Jo Davidson, and Arthur Lee. During a trip to London that same year he married sculptor Grace Mott Johnson. Johnson returned to the United States early the next year, but Dasburg stayed in Paris where he met Henri Matisse, Gertrude Stein and Leo Stein, and became influenced by the paintings of Cézanne and Cubism.[6] He soon became an ardent promoter of the Cubist style.[2]

Dasburg returned to Woodstock, New York, in August and he and Johnson became active members of the artist community. In 1911 their son Alfred was born, the same year as Dasburg's first exhibition.[4] Dasburg exhibited three oils and a sculpture[2] at the "International Exhibition of Modern Art", better known the Armory Show, which opened in New York City's 69th Regiment Armory in 1913 and introduced astonished New Yorkers to modern art.[7] The three Cubist-oriented oils displayed at the 1913 show were considered "daringly experimental".[8] In the years after the Armory Show, Dasburg's works were exhibited along with those of other Modernists at Alfred Stieglitz's 291 gallery.[9]

At the Armory show, Dasburg exhibited the only sculpture he had ever made. Prior to the show, he extensively reworked a sculpture, originally a life-size cast plaster head by Arthur Lee, by carving facets directly into the plaster of Paris.[3]

I asked him if I could cut it which he was glad – we were very close friends. So I carved a head and it must have been an awful-looking thing. At the time, I called it Lucifer, looked like Lucifer. At the Armory Show, they put it right up at the entrance as you came in, and here was this head on a stand.[10]

Dasburg and Johnson lived apart for most of their marriage. By 1917 they had separated and Dasburg began teaching painting in Woodstock and in New York City. In 1918 he was invited to Taos, New Mexico, by Mabel Dodge Luhan, and returning in 1919, Johnson joined him there for a period of time.[6] After moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1921, Dasburg integrated the boxy traditional construction styles in New Mexico into his Cubist art.[11]

Andrew Dasburg, Improvisation, c.1915–16

In both New York and Taos, he was part of the social milieu that included Georgia O'Keeffe and Gertrude Stein, and a close friend of Mabel Dodge Luhan.[4] A painting named The Absence of Mabel Dodge was allegedly painted to inflame the jealousy of her then-lover, mutual friend John Reed (it was a pointed reminder of a peyote celebration in which the two had shared), and for four years Dasburg and Reed's other lover Louise Bryant carried on an affair.[12] The elderly Dasburg appeared posthumously as himself in the movie about Reed and Bryant, Reds, although he "curiously ... does not speak of his intimacy with either".[13] He was also involved for some time with Ida Rauh, a co-founder of the Provincetown Players, and the two of them were friends with D. H. Lawrence and his wife Frieda von Richthofen, and helped Lawrence recover from a bout of tuberculosis that nearly got him refused entry to the U.S. at the border with Mexico.[14]

In 1933, he married poet Mary Channing "Marina" Wister, the daughter of Owen Wister.[15][16][17]

Dasburg died in his home in Taos, New Mexico, on August 13, 1979, at age 92.[8] Following his death, the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe held a 96-work retrospective exhibition funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts which traveled to four other Western states.[18] His works are in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Mexico Museum of Art[19] and the Denver Art Museum, among others.[8]

His home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, at 520 and 524 Camino del Monte Sol, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing building in the Camino del Monte Sol Historic District.[20]

Awards and honors

See also


  1. ^ James Raywalt, "...and A Cast of Thousands," Washington, DC: the author, 1989), p. 245, and sources cited therein.
  2. ^ a b c d e Steve Shipp (1996). American Art Colonies, 1850-1930: A Historical Guide to America's Original Art Colonies and Their Artists. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-29619-7.
  3. ^ a b American Studies at the University of Virginia
  4. ^ a b c "Andrew Michael Dasburg". Retrieved 2007-09-25. Andrew Dasburg was one of the leading Modernists in New Mexico for sixty years. A student of Robert Henri, an acquaintance of Matisse and a contributor to the famous 1913 Armory Show, his artistic credentials are sterling and his following devoted.
  5. ^ Edward Burns, ed. (1986). The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Carl Van Vechten 1913-1946. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-06430-6.
  6. ^ a b Corley, Erin, A Finding Aid to the Andrew Dasburg and Grace Mott Johnson Papers, 1833-1980 (bulk 1900-1980), Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
  7. ^ Andrew Michael Dasburg, artnet. Accessed October 30, 2007.
  8. ^ a b c "Andrew Dasburg, Cubist Painter, Dies. Said to Be Last Surviving Artist of the Armory Show of 1913". New York Times. August 14, 1979. Retrieved 2007-09-25. Andrew Dasburg, a painter who was said to be the last survivor of the artists who contributed work to the Armory show of 1913, died yesterday in Taos, N.M. He was 92 years old.
  9. ^ Corley, Erin, A Finding Aid to the Andrew Dasburg and Grace Mott Johnson Papers, 1833-1980 (bulk 1900-1980), Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
  10. ^ Archives of American Art, Oral history interview with Andrew Dasburg, 26 March 1974 (interviewed by Paul Cummings)
  11. ^ Zimmer, William. "Mexico, Both Sides of the Border, From the Century's First Half", The New York Times, October 27, 1996. Accessed October 30, 2007. "Andrew Dasburg worked with the idea that New Mexican towns and villages, with their arrangements of box-like buildings, constituted a kind of Cubism in the flesh. His Taos Houses (New Mexican Village) is a good example of this."
  12. ^ Ross Wetzsteon (2002). Republic of Dreams: Greenwich Village, the American Bohemia, 1910-1960. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-684-86996-9. The painting is now lost.
  13. ^ Mark Christopher Carnes (1995). Past Imperfect: History According to the Movies. Holt Paperbacks. ISBN 0-8050-3760-8.
  14. ^ John Worthen (2007). D. H. Lawrence: The Life of an Outsider. Counterpoint Press. ISBN 1-58243-355-0.
  15. ^ Staff. "Dispatches", Time (magazine), March 13, 1933. Accessed November 21, 2015. "Married. Mary Channing Wister, poetess daughter of Novelist Owen Wister; and Painter Andrew Michael Dasburg, 45, Guggenheim Fellow; in Philadelphia."
  16. ^ Staff. "MISS MARY C. WISTER BETROTHED TO ARTIST; Daughter of Owen Wister, the Novelist, and Herself a Poet to Wed Andrew Dasburg.", The New York Times, February 7, 1933. Accessed November 25, 2015. ""The engagement of Miss Mary Channing Wister, daughter of Owen Wister, the novelist, to Andrew Dasburg, an artist of Santa Fe, N. M., was announced today."
  17. ^ Conrad, Joseph; Karl, Frederick Robert; and Davies, Laurence. The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, Volume 7, p. lxi. Cambridge University Press, 1983. ISBN 9780521561969. Accessed November 25, 2015. "(Mary Channing) 'Marina' WISTER (1899-1970), the eldest child of the American novelist Owen Wister and civic activist Mary Channing Wister, published three books of poems.... Married to the New Mexico painter Andrew Dasburg in 1933, she settled in Taos, and in addition to writing poetry and music was involved in asserting the rights of native people."
  18. ^ Frank Waters (2000). Of Time and Change. MacAdam/Cage Publishing. ISBN 1-878448-07-2.
  19. ^ "Related for Andrew Dasburg". New Mexico Museum of Art. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
  20. ^ Corinne P. Sze (February 12, 1988). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Camino del Monte Sol Historic District". National Park Service. Retrieved July 8, 2019. With accompanying 30 photos
  21. ^ "History of the American Art Collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art". Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Archived from the original on 2009-10-13. Retrieved 2007-10-31. It turned out to be an important event for the art world of Los Angeles and also for the museum’s collection, to which were added not only the purchase prize paintings-William Wendt’s Where Nature’s God Hath Wrought, John Carroll’s Parthenope, Andrew Dasburg’s Tulips, Guy Pène du Bois’s Shops, and Diego Rivera’s Flower Day --but also Bernard Karfiol’s Seated Figure and Eugene Savage’s Recessional.
  22. ^ "International Exhibition". TIME magazine. October 24, 1927. Retrieved 2007-10-31. Third prize ($500) was given to Andrew Dasburg of Santa Fe. He had painted a table, on which a vase was full of poppy petals, heaped on the canvas like the bright blood of an immortal.
  23. ^ "Guggenheim Fellowships". TIME magazine. March 21, 1932. Retrieved 2007-10-31.

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