Monday, 21 April 2014

Mabel Dwight - part 1

1932 Self-Portrait lithograph on stone 26.9 x 21 cm Edition of 50 printed by George Miller
Though Mabel Dwight studied art in her youth, she emerged relatively late in life as a noted satirist of contemporary American life, particularly focused on New York, where she lived.

Mabel Jacque Williamson (1876 – 1955) was born in Cincinatti, Ohio. She spent her childhood in New Orleans and California and studied at San Francisco’s Mark Hopkins Institute of Art (now San Francisco Art Institute), after which she travelled extensively in France, Italy, India, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Egypt and Java. In 1903 she settled in Greenwich Village, New York, enclave of bohemian artists and writers at the time. She married social realist painter and printmaker Eugene Higgins (1874 – 1958) in 1906 and spent much of the next decade promoting her Higgins’ art, but they separated in 1917 and divorced in 1921. Higgins is these days grouped with the famous New York “Ashcan School” style of works.

Eugene Higgins "Poor Folks" mezzotint Harvard Art Museums - Fogg Museum, Cambridge MA

Eugene Higgins untitled charcoal drawing

In  1918 Mabel became the secretary of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s newly established Studio Club, promoting contemporary American art, and evolving into the present-day Whitney Museum of American Art. Following her divorce from Higgins in 1921 Mabel adopted the surname Dwight, for unknown reasons.

1898 Sketch Club Catalogue by Mabel (Williamson) Dwight

In 1926 aged fifty-two Mabel Dwight visited Paris, where she discovered her true medium, lithography. Her first lithographs were produced at Atelier Duchâtel, and her first solo exhibition of prints and drawings took place in 1928 at the Weyhe Gallery, New York – a gallery specializing in prints, founded by Erhard Wehe (in 1919) and managed by Carl Zigrosser (see 1930 lithograph below). It was through this medium – producing 111 limted edition lithographic prints – that she was able to express her vision of the comedie humaine, recording the everyday life and foibles of her fellow New Yorkers.


During the Depression her work became more serious and politically charged, creating anti-fascist images and participating in the New Deal’’s Federal Art Project, for which she produced  twenty-five lithographs highlighting urban social and political issues. By this time she was finding success amongst both collectors and museums. Unfortunately her artistic ability declined off after 1941 due to failing health. She spent her last years writing her autobiography, which was never published.

This is part 1 of a 2 - part post on the work of Mabel Dwight:

1927 Basque Church lithograph on stone in three colours, printed on chine collé 39.6 x 32.2 cm Edition of 30 printed at Duchatel, Paris

1927 Boulevard des Italiens (aka Cafe, Boulevard des Italiens) transfer lithograph on stone 24.6 x 32.4 cm edition of 12 printed at Duchatel, Paris

1927 Bouquiniste(s) transfer lithograph on stone 25 x 32.4 cm edition of 20 printed at Duchatel, Paris

1927 Bridge Paris transfer lithograph on stone 24.8 x 22.3 cm edition of 6 printed at Duchatel, Paris

1927 Copyists at the Louvre transfer lithograph on stone 24.3 x 32.4 cm edition of 12 printed at Duchatel,Paris

1927 Guignolette (Paris) hand-coloured lithograph on stone 22.2 x 29.6 cm Edition of 75 printed by George Miller

1927 Guignolette II lithograph on stone 22.5 x 27.6 cm Edition of 12 printed at Duchatel, Paris

1927 In the Subway lithograph on stone 23.5 x 18.4 cm Edition of 30 printed by George Miller

1927 Paris Pension lithograph on stone printed on chine collé 24.1 x 31.4 cm edition of 6

1927 Paris Sketches (aka Paris Types) lithograph on stone printed on chine collé 31.9 x 22.7 cm edition of 6

1927 Paris Street transfer lithograph on stone 29.8 x 23.2 cm edition of 6 printed at Duchatel, Paris

1927 Toy Shop Window lithograph 23.9 x 30.6 cm Edition of 50 printed by George Miller

1928 "Stick 'em Up" (aka Cinema) lithograph on stone 26.2 x 25.9 cm Edition of 50 printed by George Miller

1928 Aquarium (One of two known hand-coloured versions) lithograph on stone 28.4 x 31 cm Edition of 50 printed by George Miller

1928 Aquarium lithograph on stone 28.4 x 31 cm Edition of 50 printed by George Miller

1928 Brothers lithograph on zinc plate 31.5 x 24.9 cm Edition of 50 printed by George Miller

1928 Deserted Mansion lithograph on zinc plate 28.9 x 24.5 cm Edition of 30 printed by George Miller

1928 Fish (aka Aquarium) lithograph on stone in two colours 26.1 x 27.3 cm edition of 60 printed by George Miller

1928 Greetings from the House of Weyhe (Art Gallery Christmas Card) lithograph on stone 17.8 x 21.4 cm Edition of 50 printed by George Miller

1928 Hat Sale - $1.98 lithograph on zinc plate 30.7 x 25.5 cm Edition of 25 printed by George Miller

1928 Houston Street Burlesque lithograph on stone 24.7 x 20 cm Edition of 50 printed by George Miller

1928 In the Park lithograph on zinc plate 27.8 x 23.2 cm Edition of 50 printed by George Miller

1928 Mechano Marvel of the Age lithograph on stone in three colours 31.2 x 23.6 cm Edition of 50 (38 colour, 12 black) printed by George Miller

1928 Portrait of Roderick Seidenberg lithograph on stone 24.4 x 20.7 cm Edition of 30 printed by George Miller

1928 The Clinch (first state) lithograph on stone 23 x 29.6 cm Edition of 50 printed by George Miller

1928 The Clinch (second state) lithograph on stone 23 x 29.6 cm Edition of 50 printed by George Miller

1928 The Family lithograph on stone 20.1 x 25.6 cm Edition of 50 printed by George Miller

1928 The Ocean, Coney Island lithograph on stone 22.4 x 25.5 cm Edition of 50 printed by George Miller

1932 Coney Island Beach hand-coloured lithograph 22.4 x 25.7 cm Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.

1928 Tourists in the Crypt at Chartres lithograph on stone 23.5 x 25.5 cm Edition of 40 printed by George Miller

1929 Dusk lithograph on stone 33.2 x 24.6 cm Edition of 100 printed by George Miller

1929 Harlem Rent Party lithograph on stone 26 x 30.2 cm Edition of 44 printed by George Miller

1929 Old Greenwich Village lithograph on zinc plate 24 x 23.9 cm edition of 40 printed by George Miller

1929 The Survivor, Staten Island lithograph on stone 25.3 x 35 cm Edition of 30 printed by George Miller

1930 Circus lithograph on stone 34 x 23.9 cm Edition of 55 printed by George Miller

1930 Ferry Boat (aka On the Ferry Boat) lithograph on stone 23.3 x 25.7 cm Edition of 60 printed by George Miller

1930 Portrait of Carl Zigrosser lithograph on stone 33.6 x 28.7 cm Edition of 50 printed by George Miller

1930 Portrait of Paul Robeson lithograph on stone in five colours 37.6 x 32.9 edition of 100 (75 colour, 25 black) printed by George Miller

1930 The Great Trapeze Act lithograph on stone 22 x 34.3 cm Edition of 30 printed by George Miller

1931 Derelicts lithograph on stone 24.7 x 31.5 cm Edition of 40 printed by George Miller

1931 Fishing Village lithograph on stone 23.5 x 28.1 cm Edition of 24 printed by George Miller

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