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 Leon Dabo  (1864 - 1960)

About: Leon Dabo


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Lived/Active: New York / France      Known for: River-scene and still life painting, decoration, murals

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Michael R. Grauer
Email Stillwell House Antiques. They are the best resource for Leon Dabo.

Michael R. Grauer
We recently had our fine Leon Dabo landscape (probably along the Hudson) conserved along with its great Art Nouveau frame. I would be glad to send images and other particulars to someone working on Dabo who might help us determine its title and vintage. Thanks.

Michael R. Grauer
Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs/Curator of Art
Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum


Yes, Leon Dabo did use LD on some of his works. it was not what was normally used, but in the case of a personal piece to a friend or family member he would use this. I would have to see an example to know if it was in fact Dabo. LD does not mean Dabo. It depends on the painting.

greg benaitis

signiture of dabo
Did leon dabo ever use L.D. for his signature on any of his work ?

Stillwell House

Tranquil Sails
Tranquil Sails just sold this week at auction. I went to see the piece in person. It was stunning. In fact I think it was one of the best pieces at the auction. It went double over the reserve. A great artist.

Stillwel House

Circa 1910
Yes I would agree with you. This piece is an early example of Leon Dabo's work. He has hit a home run with this piece!

Allen Kendall

new Dabo
I think "Tranquil Sails" at Shannons is one of the prettiest I have seen. This is an early example of his work. I looks to me to be 1900-1910 in period. You don't see many of vintage paintings available these days. I wish I could buy it!


Coastal Scene vs. Rain Clouds
I saw the photograph of “Coastal Scene” c. 1910 on the Treadway/Toomey auction website, and I too find it hard to believe that Leon Dabo painted it. When you see a beautiful Dabo marine painting like “Rain Clouds,” now in the June auction at Pacific Galleries, you see an excellent example of a Leon Dabo painting from that time in his career.

I have a copy of a ledger kept by Dabo where he recorded in November of 1906, that he had sent several paintings to R. A. Bernstein of Blanchard Gallery in Los Angeles. Among these was a painting of the same size with the same title as the one at Pacific Galleries. It is certainly the same painting.

Spanierman Gallery wrote in their book “The Poetic Vision: American Tonalism” about the Dabo painting, “Hudson River” c. 1918, which they exhibited in November of 2006 - “As observed by the the English critic, John Spargo, Dabo’s canvases were painted ‘idealistically, with a poet’s vision of subtle and hidden things . . . he loves Nature in all her moods, but he loves best of all her serenity, so . . . his pictures are delicate, ethereal visions of Nature’s vast, universal simplicity, beauty and peace’ Spargo’s comments would certainly apply to “Hudson River”, which, in its restrained chromaticism, minimalist design, pliant brushwork, and subjective vision, stands as a quintessential example of Tonalism.’

These words can most certainly be true of “Rain Clouds” as well. I have seen some other Dabo works that are not tonal but even they maintain his unique perspective. The “Coastal Scene” at Treadway/Toomey doesn’t rise to the quality of any of Dabo’s works whether early or late.

Susan Hopkins

Leon Dabo Floral
I bought a floral by Dabo that was painted after his son's suicide. when I got it home I noticed that in this painting he has painted over his sons portrait. How can I find more infor on his life.

Anthony Rosa

Leon Dabo
I just purchased a Dabo floral showing a clear influence by Odilon Redon. The colors are so vibrant. It shows the artist's versatility from his earlier tonalist paintings.

Peter Duveen

Dabo and Whistler
Leon Dabo and James McNeill Whistler are said to have known each other, but the details of their relationship seem elusive. The following passage, from The Life of James McNeill Whistler by E.R. and Joseph Pennell (J.P. Lippincott, Phila., 5th ed. 1911, page 43) may shed some light on this relationship:
"Mr. Leon Dabo tells us that his father was a fellow student of Whistler's at Gleyre's and lived at Saverne, now Zabern, in Alsace, and that it was to see him Whistler went there. And from Mr. Dabo we have the story of excursions that Whistler and Ernest [[]Delannoy] made with his father and several friends: one to the ruins of the castle near the village of Dabo, now Dagsbourg, where it is said their signatures may still be seen on a rock of brown sandstone; another to Gross Geroldseck, and the sketches Whistler made there were afterwards presented to the Zabern Museum. It may be that a third excursion was to Pfalzburg, the birthplace of Erckmann and Chatrian, whom Whistler knew and possibly then met for the first time."

This passage is probably missing from earlier editions. Leon Dabo is mentioned in a publisher's note at the front of the book as having provided some of the new material for the 5th edition.


Auction Prices
It is great to see pieces by Dabo going up so much. I have noticed that a lot of his pieces are over 24000.00 at auction in the past year. There was a great show on Tonalism in NYC this year. I hope to find more shows like this...


Mt Holyoke Collection
The American Art Review's June 2004 issue has an article on The Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. Among the many artist they discuss in their collection is Leon Dabo. Unfortunately their is not that much info on him, but anything is helpful on this elusive artist.

Brian Hunter

F Dabo
I have seen a painting that was signed F Dabo. In some of the early New York directories there is an F Dabo. Would anyone know if this is relative or one of the Dabo brothers using a different name?

allen Kendall

Thank you for your update. There is such a huge interest in his work. I feel he is really one og the greats.

Brian Hunter

White, Green, and Gold exhibit
The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, CT is presenting an exhibition entitled White, Green, and Gold: The Seasons in American Landscape Painting. Leon Dabo's painting "Winter Evening" is one of the real highlights of the show. It is unlike most of the other work in the show. Dabo's quiet overcast sunset is transfixing and must be seen in person as the photo at pales in comparison. While in Old Lyme, CT I stopped at an art gallery that also had a few of Leon Dabo's paintings which just as lovely as his "Winter Evening" I highly recommend a trip to Old Lyme.


Leon Dabo and J&R Lamb
Dabo worked at the design firm of J&R Lamb for several years in his early career. Would anyone have any documentation concening his relationship with the firm and it's owners?

Tyne Firmin

Newly discovered research has shown that Leon Dabo was born in France in 1865 and not as previously thought in Detroit in 1868. (This can be verified at the Metropolitan Museum of Art) Dabo was a student of John La Farge, Puvis de Chavannes and James McNeil Whistler. In 1910 he participated in the "Independents" exhibit organized by The Eight in NYC. In 1913 he was one of the principle organizers of the Armory Show. 1917 Dabo was comissioned and sent to France in A.E.F. Corps of Interpreters. In 1920 Dabo lectured on Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at Columbia University. In 1933 Dabo Exhibited his flower painting and pastels at Knoedler Gallery, NY. The New York Times in its review stated "a distict contribution to be associated with the flower harmonies of Odilon Redon and of Fantin-Latour." 1944 in his 79th year, he was elected full Academician of The National Academy of Design. He painted until his nintieth year. In 1960 he died in NYC on November 7th. In the 1960'

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