Dusti Bongé abstract watercolor painting

This week’s artwork in the partnership between See Great Art and the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation features a small, luminous, late career, abstract watercolor painting. Analysis of the piece, as always, comes from Dusti Bongé Art Foundation Executive Director Ligia Römer.

Dusti Bongé, Untitled (Orange and Gold Circle with Brown Curve), 1986, watercolor on paper, 6” x 8 3/4”. Private Collection.

Once Dusti Bongé turned to complete abstraction by the mid-1950s, she never turned back. This does not mean that she ever stopped experimenting, on the contrary she played with scale, materials, color palettes, and shaped canvases. She also explored a variety of media, using oils, watercolors, spray paint, felt tip markers and so on. 

Her work also continued evolving within its abstract language. The highly expressionist gestures of the 1950s and 60s eventually evolved into slightly more defined, formal shapes. By the 1980s many of her works have clearly defined linear, curving, circular, or rectangular elements in abstract arrangements. Some of the interesting aspects of these works are Dusti’s sense of balance as she places her forms in relation to one another and the character of the marks she uses to define them.  

This small watercolor painting offers a clear example of these. At first glance there are two oval shapes, roughly the same size that dominate the composition. Their placement at the center of the work might have been static, were it not for Dusti positioning them with their tops slightly titling away from one another. In addition, they are anchored by a curving form that swoops across the bottom of one to the top of the other.

This move creates a kind of yin-yang effect with the ovals alternately coming into the foreground or receding into the background. The marks of the brown curve add a real sense of movement with the broad swaths of watercolor accentuated by continuous thin lines.

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