Joseph Stella, American (born Italy), 1877 - 1946
Pastel, colored crayon, metalpoint (probably silverpoint), and possibly graphite over an artist-prepared ground on wove paper
Image: 12 1/2 × 9 3/8 in. (31.8 × 23.8 cm)
Sheet: 15 7/8 × 11 11/16 in. (40.4 × 29.7 cm)
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Helen Farr Sloan
Place Made: United States, North America
Not on view
Signed, lower right, in graphite: Jo. Stella; inscribed, in graphite, on reverse [probably not artist's hand]: Stella, Dying Lotus
While many early modernists focused on the clean lines of machine forms in their stylized works, Blanche Lazzell drew inspiration from nature. Here, she fills her sheet with energetically drawn leaves and blossoms that convey a sense of power and vitality. She created this drawing in preparation for carving one of her color woodblock prints. The drawing’s bold, authoritative lines give a modernist twist to the depiction of foxglove, an old-fashioned blossom that has long been a staple in New England gardens.
Initially drawn to industrial themes, Joseph Stella later favored subjects found in nature, especially tropical flowers and birds inspired by his frequent travels to Cuba, Barbados, and North Africa. Here he enlivens his exotic lotus—an especially important motif in Buddhist art—primarily through vibrant, almost iridescent strokes of color that suggest an emanating force. Despite the blossom’s apparent vitality, an inscription on the reverse provides the title Dying Lotus, which foretells the inevitable.
From the 2022 exhibition This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, curated by Jami C. Powell, Curator of Indigenous Art; Barbara J. MacAdam, former Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art; Thomas H. Price, former Curatorial Assistant; Morgan E. Freeman, former DAMLI Native American Art Fellow; and Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art
ARTH 17, The Power of Place: Urban and Rural Images in American Art, 1900-1945, Sarah Powers, Winter 2014
American Works on Paper to 1950: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art, Friends and Owen Robertson Cheatham Galleries, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, September 22-December 9, 2007.
From Copley to Dove: American Drawings and Watercolors at Dartmouth, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, (no cat.), March 11-May 28, 1989.
Marks of Distinction: Two Hundred Years of American Drawings and Watercolors from the Hood Museum of Art, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, March 29-May 29, 2005; Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan, June 24-September 11, 2005; National Academy Museum, New York City, New York, October 20-December 31, 2005.
The Decade of Modernism: Selected Paintings, Sculptures, and Works on Paper, 1910-1920, Churchill P. Lathrop Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, (no cat.), September 28, 2002-January 22, 2003.
This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 5-April 11, 2022.
Barbara J. MacAdam, Marks of Distinction: Two Hundred Years of American Drawings and Watercolors from the Hood Museum of Art, Manchester, Vermont: Hudson Hills Press, 2005, pp. 35, 160, 265-266, ill. p. 161, no. 49.
Annual Report 2005-6, Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 2006, ill. p.39.
Barbara J. MacAdam, American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Muesum of Art, Hanover: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 2007, p. 145, no. 117.
Barbara J. MacAdam, Marks of Distinction: Two Hundred Years of American Drawings and Watercolors from the Hood Museum of Art, American Art Review, Vol. XVII No. 2, April 2005, pp. 86-93, ill p. 91
Helen Farr Sloan (1911-2005), New York, date unknown; given to present collection, 1952.
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