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 Dorothy Elvery Kay  (1886 - 1964)

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Lived/Active: South Africa/Ireland      Known for: portrait and figure painting, illustration

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Self Portrait with Red and White Scarf
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Born at Greystones, County Wicklow, Dorothy Kay was a portrait and figurative painter and illustrator.  She learned drawing and fine art painting at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art and at the Royal Hibernian Academy Schools, where she won several awards in the early 1900s, including the Taylor Scholarship.

After a short period of further study in Paris she began exhibiting with the Young Irish Artists and the Royal Hibernian Academy, gaining a reputation for her fine watercolour painting.  In 1910, she emigrated to South Africa, married a surgeon, and became an active member of several arts groups, including the South African Society of Artists.

During the 1920s, she continued exhibiting with the RHA and submitted several works to the Water Colour Society of Ireland. In addition, she showed in London at the British Empire Exhibition (1924) and at the Royal Society of British Artists.  She was also elected a member of the Royal British and Colonial Society of Artists.

As well as her watercolours, she produced a huge range of black and white illustrations for a number of magazines.  With the outbreak of World War II, she was commissioned as a war artist by the South African Government and completed a number of murals.  After the war, she painted a number of portraits of leading figures including General Smuts. She continued to show her works as widely as possible up until 1955, taking part in exhibitions in South Africa, South America and Europe.

After her death in 1964 several retrospective shows of her work were staged in Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town. Examples of her works can be seen in the South African National Gallery, the South African National Museum for War History, the Marylebone Cricket Club, London.

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