Dusti Bongé Surrealism drawing

Dusti Bongé surrealism drawings and paintings demonstrate her experimentation throughout a long career. She tried her hand at many of Modern art’s popular movements. Remember, while Bongé was born and raised in Mississippi, she spent years in Chicago and New York.

See Great Art’s partnership with the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation in Biloxi continues this week with the Foundation’s executive director, Ligia M. Römer, informing us about a Dusti Bongé Surrealism piece.

Untitled (Surrealist Composition with Cello), 1945, charcoal on paper, 14 “ x 16 3/4”.

Within a few years of embarking on her artistic career, Dusti Bongé, who was very aware of what was going on in the art world at large, started exploring with surrealist approaches to art. During WWII many European Surrealists had taken refuge in New York, influencing and changing the American art environment. 

Dusti willingly experimented with Surrealism, trying to determine what it meant to her and to her art, and allowing it to play an active role in her artistic development. She readily embraced the surrealist approach of allowing dreams, fantasy, irrational thoughts and the unconscious mind to shape her art.

She also developed her own set of thematic elements that would recur in many of her surrealist works. And here, surely her interest in the theater, the circus, dancing, acting and related performance acts on stage, influenced her surrealist creations.

In this work we see one of her recurring themes, namely a musical instrument. Both the piano and various stringed instruments, as well as other musical elements, make their appearance in several of her sketches and paintings.

Here we have a cello with its bow and its strings that terminate into musical notes. The cello appears semi-submerged in sand (as indicated by the stippling) or perhaps floating in the clouds (as indicated by the billowing gray shapes). Then there are the various wavy, dashed, and zigzag lines emanating from the cello, almost suggesting music moving through the air.  None of it quite makes sense and that, of course, is the beauty of Surrealism.

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