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Dorothy Dehner
b. 1901, Cleveland, Ohio
d. 1994, New York, New York

Dorothy Dehner was an American painter, printmaker, and sculptor. Dehner was born in Cleveland, Ohio and as a young woman pursued drawing, modern dance, poetry, and acting. After a trip abroad in 1925, she enrolled at the Art Students League in New York and met the artist David Smith, whom she married in 1927. The couple spent many summers at their upstate home in Bolton Landing, permanently moving there in 1940. During their marriage, Smith was a domineering figure and limited Dehner’s opportunities for art making. After her permanent separation from him in 1950, Dehner returned to New York and was free to make work without fear of Smith’s jealousy, control, or violence. Rose Fried Gallery held Dehner’s first solo exhibition in 1952, and in 1953 she participated in group shows at both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the MoMA. Dehner began printmaking at Atelier 17, where she became life-long friends with Louise Nevelson. In 1955, Dehner began creating sculpture, modeling abstract forms in wax for bronze casting at the Sculpture Center, and Marian Willard signed on as her dealer. Later in Dehner’s career, she began making sculptures in wood, and eventually worked with fabricators to create steel sculptures of monumental proportions. Throughout the decades, she utilized a personal iconography of arcs, lines, stars, and wedges. Dehner worked prolifically until her death at the age of 92 and today her work is held by many public collections.