Dusti Bongé mixed media sketch

A wonderfully delicate, colorful and perhaps spontaneous abstract mixed media sketch this week as part of SeeGreatArt’s partnership with the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation. What a gem.

Analysis, as always, comes from Dusti Bongé Art Foundation Executive Director Ligia M. Römer.

Dusti Bongé, The Raritan Sketch Book – p.15 verso, 1955, mixed media on paper, 8”x 5”

A wonderful piece from a 1955 sketchbook filled with strong, small, intensely colored, pastel compositions. By this time Dusti Bongé had developed her unique abstract approach, often juxtaposing bold and unexpected colors against each other.

This sketch book originally contained 30 sheets of which 18 remain, each experimenting with powerful color compositions. This is the only page that had a work both en recto and en verso. 

This work is a bit different from all the others contained in this book. While they all boast colorful arrangements made with broad, forceful pastel marks, this piece is basically monochromatic blue with just a hint of maroon along one edge. The medium has an incredibly fine texture.

A central oval form with a swirling, centripetal pattern of intense blue is surrounded by a less densely dispersed area of a slightly darker shade of blue. This is completed with some dark accents at the bottom and top of the main shape and the earlier mentioned gentle swath of maroon along the left of it.

What makes this piece unique is that it appears as if Dusti gently dusted the surface of the paper with an almost iridescent blue. Rather than her characteristic strong mark making, here it looks like she applied the pigment in a way that allowed it to float freely above the surface of the paper, only to eventually settle where it may. As such, the work has a faintly marbleized, delicate quality to it, with a sense of it being a virtually fortuitous composition.

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