Dusti Bongé silhouette sketch

One of the most valuable aspects of See Great Art’s partnership with the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation is our ability to understand her creative process through sketches the Foundation shares with us. These sketches and their analysis detail how ideas turn into paintings.

Below, Dusti Bongé Art Foundation Executive Director Ligia M. Römer explains how a sketch became a painting.

Dusti Bongé, The Lehigh Sketch Book: Wire-o-Bound- p.1 verso, c. 1945, felt tip pen on paper, 12” x 9”

A wonderful piece from a 1945 Dusti Bongé sketchbook with only five of its twenty sheets remaining in it. These remaining sheets are covered on both sides with vivid contour drawings in a bright violet colored felt tip pen. Only one drawing was subsequently rendered with watercolor.

These contour drawings offer an interesting mix of subject matter, depicting various figures as well as interiors with bureaus, toys and other household miscellany. They also show how Dusti’s contours eventually morphed into surreal figures, later explored in her series of Keyhole People.

This particular drawing offers a fascinating example of overlapping figures and interior domestic items all tinged with a hint of surrealism. There is a central broad shouldered, hunched over figure seen from the back, so bent over in fact that there is no head visible. The figure, stepping away from the viewer, looks as if burdened by an unknown cause. The silhouette is repeated to the left and slightly up from the central figure, echoing the same posture but with the right shoulder heavily accentuated.

This figure is enclosed in a rectangle as if framed through a window, or perhaps as having already been rendered by the artist on a sheet or canvas. Then, floating of to the right, there is a third iteration of the bent over character, this one lacking the strong upper build of the other two. Along the bottom of it all there is a horizontal arrangement of various shells and to the left are two small toy horses.

What’s most fascinating is that Dusti Bongé not only sketched this figure on different occasions, but eventually painted his burdened silhouette in a work titled The Blue Man.

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