January 14, 2010

The Art of William de Leftwich Dodge

William de Leftwich Dodge (1867 – 1935), also known as W. de Leftwich Dodge was born in Bedford, Virginia. As an American impressionist painter, he is most well known for his murals. Murals, during his time, were regarded as an essential element of most public architecture, theaters, municipal buildings and even privately owned homes.

(Dodge, William de Leftwich. Venus in Atrium. c. 1908. oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.)

Dodge spent most of his childhood growing up in Paris and Munich where his mother resided to pursue her own art studies. In 1895, he was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris where he studied with Jean-Léon Gérôme.

(Dodge, William de Leftwich. Death of Minnehaha. c. 1892.
oil on canvas.)

At nineteen years old he was awarded the gold medal of the American Art Association for history painting depicting the death of Minnehaha, the subject of Longfellow’s popular poem, Hiawatha.

(Dodge, William de Leftwich. Stepping in the Fountain. c. 1916. oil on canvas. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC.)

In 1893, he was offered the chance to decorate the dome of the central building of the Colombian Exposition, the famous “White City” in Chicago. He was only 26 years old when he accepted the commission.

(Dodge, William de Leftwich. Untitled (study for ceiling,
Empire Theatre, N.Y.).
c. 1932. pencil and crayon on paper. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC.)

(Dodge, William de Leftwich. Meditation. c. 1897. oil on canvas. Renwick Gallery, Washington DC.)

Dodge’s work displays all of the wonderful characteristics and qualities of American Impressionism, but his emphasis on light along with his subtle brush strokes which are visible is absolutely breathtaking and his work is much appreciated here!

Enjoy! :)

Reference: Smithsonian American Art Museum