DescriptionLÉON DABO (American, 1868-1960)
Standing Woman with Fan, A Study in Rose and Grey, 1906
Oil on panel
8 x 4 inches (20.3 x 10.2 cm)
Initialed lower left (conjoined): LD
Inscribed verso: Painted by Leon Dabo / Aug 9th 1906. / In his studio for / I. P. Lathrop
THE JEAN AND GRAHAM DEVOE WILLIFORD CHARITABLE TRUST
Tonalist painter Leon Dabo produced this highly Whistlerian work--complete with a Whistlerian style frame and a title Whistler himself would have chosen "A Study in Rose and Gray"--in 1906, the year following the event which truly launched his painting career: a solo exhibition at the National Arts Club. Following that event, prominent collector and Tonalist enthusiast William T. Evans purchased some of Dabo's paintings, which conveyed special distinction. Shortly afterwards, in 1910 and 1913, Dabo was involved with and participated in two of the major events in the American Art scene: the Independents of 1910, and the Armory Show of 1913.
Over a long and distinguished career, Leon Dabo worked as an easel painter, muralist and lithographer, and in later years became an authenticator of and published writer on work by Whistler, owing to this close association with him during one period of his career. Dabo painted both in New York and France between the two world wars. He studied with some of the most influential painters of his day, notably John La Farge, Puvis de Chavannes, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler.
Dabo's first teacher in New York City was John La Farge (1835-1910), whose artistic philosophy powerfully impacted the course of his art: art should embody "more than a mere representation of external appearances," and views of nature should transcend the physical and appeal to ones emotion. La Farge is also credited with introducing Dabo to flower painting, which became a favorite genre. In 1886, Dabo went to Paris where, using letters of introduction provided by La Farge, met leading artists. He studied with Daniel Vierge and Pierre Galland, and at the École des Arts Decoratifs, Academie Julian and the École des Beaux Arts. In his early years in Paris, Dabo was a protégé of the renowned painter and muralist Puvis de Chavannes (1824-1898) many of his early landscapes owe much to his mentor in muted tonality, and evoking a dreamy quiet mood. In 1888 Dabo settled in London where he associated with such artistic personalities as Whistler, Walter Sickert, George Bernard Shaw, Alvin Langdon Coburn, among others. But it was James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) who had a profound and lasting influence on Dabo's art. He closely followed Whistler's theory of "Art for Art's sake," showing the close relationship between the soft, tonal quality of color with the careful placement of composition into decorative and harmonious elements. In the present work, the woman is subordinate to the silvery atmosphere achieved through careful color and tonal arrangements, which was the artist's actual subject. Dabo's works are owned by over forty museums in the United States and abroad. Like Whistler, Dabo adopted a monogram as his artistic signature.
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