Dorothy Dehner was born in Cleveland Ohio in the year 1901. During her young life Dehner dealt with many deaths that ultimately influenced her works greatly. After her Father's death in the year 1911, Dorothy lived with her two Aunts, Mother and Sister. Her Aunt Cora was a world traveler, she told countless stories of her travels to young Dorothy which was the main reason for her Europe trip in the year 1925. After two years after the start to her sculpture career at age 54, Dorothy Dehner held her first one-woman exhibition at New York’s Willard Gallery. The Cleveland native had originally pursued an acting career. Moving to California in 1918, she took classes at the Pasadena Playhouse and majored in drama at the University of California, Los Angeles.
In 1922, she resettled in New York; three years later she set her sights on a career as a visual artist instead. For several years, Dehner studied painting at The Art Students League, getting to know emerging American modernists, including David Smith, whom she married in 1927.
While living in Brooklyn and, later, on the farm she and Smith shared at Bolton Landing in upstate New York, Dehner limited her artistic production to drawings and paintings, participating in only a few group shows. Her work at this point was figurative, alternating idyllic representations of her daily life on the farm with devastating, demonic images that reflected the deteriorating state of her marriage.
After she and Smith separated in 1950, Dehner became more active professionally, studying printmaking at William Stanley Hayter’s Atelier 17 and becoming known for her three-dimensional work. Initially creating cast-bronze sculpture, Dehner started working with wood in the mid-1970s. During the early 1980s, she produced enormous pieces in Corten steel—an alloy with a rusty appearance.
Dorothy Dehner ca. 1950s in her Studio
'Damnation Series: The Last Thanksgiving'
During Dorothy's turbulent relationship with American Sculptor David Smith, she decided to depict a series of emotional, mental, and physical stress that she her self was enduring throughout the remainder of her relationship prior to her divorce.
'Sanctum With Window I' 1990
After her years with David Smith, Dehner's creative approach towards sculpture grew towards a different direction due to her feeling more 'creatively free' to create, mold, and sculpt her infamous bronze and wood sculptures.
Call us at (917) 439 - 9610
regarding any questions you may have regarding the
items you're interested in.