Dorothy Dehner, THE LETTER, 1954
This is Dorothy Dehner's poignant 1954 work on paper "The Letter" -- inspired by the 1950 steel masterpiece "The Letter" created by her husband, the great American sculptor David Smith - a work that is now in the permanent collection of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, NY. At the time, both artists lived in Bolton's Landing New York, and Dehner's work bears a label from the Willard Gallery -- which represented and exhibited David Smith's work in that era. The Letter is one of his iconic works, using tracery to create his image rather than solid forms, blurring the distinction between painting and sculpture. Dehner's drawing is a delicate rendering of the same subject in two dimensions. Dorothy Dehner studied at the Art Students League with Jan Matulka and others and worked with the legendary Stanley Hayter at Atelier 17, where Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb, Alexander Calder, Jacques Lipchitz, Pablo Picasso, Louise Bourgeois and so many others passed through. Although Dehner is perhaps best known as the wife of the great American sculptor David Smith, she has always been recognized as a fine artist in her own right and has been the subject of several important museum retrospectives and survey shows.
Framed: 32 inches by 28 inches
Sheet: 23 inches by 18 inches
For reference, below is a link to an image of Smith's masterpiece "The Letter" - upon which Dehner based the present work:
Signed 'Dorothy Dehner' and dated lower right; Framed with original label from Willard Gallery.