Another surprise: Dusti Bongé miniature

Dusti Bongé’s output never fails to surprise. From Surrealism to nudes, abstracts and landscapes, the breath of her productivity was astonishing. Dusti Bongé miniature paintings were something I was completely unfamiliar with until posting this week’s article from the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation.

Analysis of the Dusti Bongé miniature comes from Ligia Römer, PhD, Executive Director at the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation, with offices located in Biloxi and open to visitors for discovery.

By: Ligia Römer

Untitled (Yellow, Blue and Brown Abstract), 1975, watercolor on paper, 3 5/8” x 3 1/8”. Private Collection

Forever exploring, Dusti Bongé, throughout the 1970s, continued to challenge herself with new materials, different media, and works at various scales. She invented her large fiberglass “Window Paintings” during this time, while also working on very small paintings on paper. Regardless of scale or material, all these works continue her steadfast quest never to get too facile with a particular style or medium. They also exhibit her consistently amazing mastery of color.

This little gem is an example of some of her works we refer to as her “miniatures.” Even smaller than the joss papers she would subsequently paint in the 1980s and 90s, these are tiny watercolors and/or acrylic paintings saturated with color. It is remarkable how within the space of a few inches Dusti Bongé miniatures create such a rich composition, one which would be equally powerful if translated into a work of several feet. The composition strikes a perfect balance of light and dark, achieved in part by the hint of light blue along the left edge.

Rather than painting these small pieces in her studio, where the physical space and openness fostered grand gestures, Dusti Bongé typically did them in the intimacy and quiet of her home. The works she was particularly pleased with, which occasionally would be trimmed out of a larger piece, she would then mount on board, signing and dating them.

This miniature is signed and dated “Dusti Bongé ’75” lower right on the mat board.

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