Dusti Bongé Surrealist drawings

A pair of Dusti Bongé Surrealist drawings take center stage in See Great Art’s partnership with the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation this week. Analysis of the artwork, as always, comes via Dusti Bongé Art Foundation Executive Director Ligia M. Römer.

Dusti Bongé, Drawing L from Twenty-five Surrealist Drawings (A-Y), 1945, pen & ink on paper, 11” x 8 ½”

Dusti Bongé, Drawing M from Twenty-five Surrealist Drawings (A-Y), 1945, pen & ink on paper, 11” x 8 ½”

Typically, an artist’s figurative sketches or studies show us how they are experimenting with what they observe, how they observe it, and how they might represent it. Here we have two sketches that offer an interesting insight into how Dusti Bongé was continually trying out new ways to capture what she saw. These drawings are part of a larger series of figures and faces she sketched, which were probably mostly people she observed, but occasionally may have been drawn from her mind. Most of these studies are very personal, but not very precise or realist, interpretations of the figures.

Dusti Bongé, Drawing M from Twenty-five Surrealist Drawings (A-Y), 1945, pen & ink on paper, 11” x 8 ½”
Dusti Bongé, Drawing M from Twenty-five Surrealist Drawings (A-Y), 1945, pen & ink on paper, 11” x 8 ½”

Looking at these sketches, one realizes that who is being depicted is not as important as how they are being depicted. In both these drawings we have what appears to be one or more faces. The way the faces are represented is not very accurate or complete, rather, they have partly Cubist and partly Surrealist aspects to them.

From a Cubist point of view one might say we are seeing the same face from two different perspectives, the front and the side. From a more Surrealist perspective one might interpret there being two faces kind of intertwined, one facing the viewer, in the background, and one in profile in the foreground.

In either case, there are clearly recognizable elements such as an eye, a hint at hair, a line indicating the ridge of the nose, and a slightly open mouth. In the second sketch we also recognize the outline of an ear.  In both cases the main outline of the face(s) is accomplished with just two continuous lines, with the eyes and hair being the exception to this. In both cases, the result is an intriguing composition through very economical means.

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