Dusti Bongé seascape ‘Ghost of the Sea’

A Dusti Bongé seascape, Ghost of the Sea, takes centerstage this week in our partnership with the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation in Biloxi, MS. Insight into the painting comes from Executive Director of the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation, Ligia M. Römer.

Dusti Bongé, Ghost of the Sea, 1958 oil on canvas, 46 ¼”; x 26 ¼”. Paul Bongé Collection

As Dusti Bongé’s style evolved over the years into full-fledged Abstract Expressionism, her work nonetheless often embodied a sense of place and the presence of the coastal landscape. In her earlier works this was directly expressed in her paintings and drawings of the waterfront, Back Bay, the harbor, boats, factories, and piers. 

Likewise, Dusti’s abstract works continued to be inspired and nurtured by her natural surroundings on the Gulf Coast, a place of light, water, beaches, and the open sea. She created works that referenced these natural elements in their titles, such as Silver Beach, September Storm, and this painting Ghost of the Sea. Thus, although the way she expressed the unique quality of her environment changed, its influence remained.

As its title indicates, this painting is clearly inspired by the sea. Living on the Gulf Coast, the sea in one form or another is a constant presence in, and influence on, everything in one’s daily life, from high and low tides to the smell of the air, floods, wind patterns, humidity, fierce storms. They in turn have short and long term effects on the landscape, the cityscape, the flora and fauna. But what remains consistent is the color palette of the coast, as reflected in this work. 

Both the Gulf and its skies can at times be bright with white marks interspersed, such as when there are white caps on the water or sweeping cloud formations in the sky. The dabs of yellow are like sunlight reflected on the water. The darker colors in the background are a reminder of inevitable storms to come.

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