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Andrew Dasburg (1887-1979)

 

Andrew Dasburg was born in Germany in 1887, and immigrated to the United States with his widowed mother 5 years later in 1892.  Settling in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, a teacher recognized Dasburg’s talents while he was in his teens and took him to the Art Student’s League, persuading the faculty to take Dasburg on scholarship. 

 

In 1909, Dasburg traveled to France, where he had the opportunity to visit Matisse’s studio, and where he discovered the work of his greatest influence, Paul Cezanne. Dasburg returned to Woodstock, New York, the following year with Cezanne’s cubism at the forefront of his mind.  Three years later, Dasburg was invited to exhibit at the seminal Armory show of 1913.  Unimpressed with the works displayed by his American contemporaries, Dasburg was further influenced by the European abstraction exhibited, and his own works from 1913 to 1916 veered strongly towards the abstract.

 

Visiting New Mexico in 1918 would change Andrew Dasburg once again, as the mountains and valleys of the region inspired a renewed interest in recognizable form in nature.  By the late-1920’s, Dasburg had achieved great prominence in his adopted New Mexico as a forward-thinking leader in modernist representation.

 

Due to health problems, Dasburg’s artistic output was greatly curtailed in the 1930’s and early ‘40’s.  With newly developed medicines, he was able to regain his strength and optimism in the following decades, a period when he turned to the pastel medium. 

 

Andrew Dasburg is remembered as a pioneer of modernism in New York who brought a new pictorial language to the landscape of New Mexico.  Remaining active and creative until the end of his life, Dasburg died peacefully at his home in Taos at the age of 92.



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