Continuing our partnership with the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation in Biloxi, MS raising awareness around the work of this important 20th century artist, we have a color sketch of an interior scene. Analysis, as always, comes from Dusti Bongé Art Foundation Executive Director Ligia M. Römer:
From a 1948 sketchbook, we have here a rather rare example of Dusti Bongé depicting an interior scene.
This also happens to be one of the few sketchbooks that Dusti actually dated, another rare occurrence. On the back cover, among various scribbles and notes, the date 1948-49 is clearly written in pencil. In addition, each sketch in the book is signed “Dusti Bongé.”
This particular scene is the only colored work, the remaining sketches in this sketchbook are all very quick, pen and ink studies of various figures napping, with head resting on a pillow, relaxing, sitting on a bed, and sundry scenarios. In each case the person is clearly not paying any particular attention to the fact that they are being drawn. All this suggests these were a series sketches she did at home in a comfortable, intimate setting.
Showing a bedroom scene, this sketch features a low cabinet below a window, through which one can see a lush, brightly lit green background. A vanity with an antique mirror toward the left features a glass oil lantern, which is reflected in the mirror. A wooden bedpost on the right completes the scene. The interior has warm, shady tones whereas what is seen through the window is bright, light tints. All rendered with swift marks and brush strokes there is just enough detail to hint at the intricacies of the antique furniture inside, and the foliage outside.
Although Dusti did her fair share of still life paintings and studies at home during her early years, she did not portray this kind of private space very often, but this watercolor study, and the entire sketchbook of lounging figures, offer a uniquely relaxed and personal peak into her home.