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 Mabel Jacque Williamson Dwight  (1876 - 1955)



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Lived/Active: New York/Ohio      Known for: social realist lithography

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Eugene (Mrs.) Higgins is primarily known as Mabel Jacque Williamson Dwight

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Ad Code: 3
Mabel Dwight
from Auction House Records.
The Picnic.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A keen observer of the absurdity of the human condition, Mabel Dwight is best known for her lightly satirical depictions of life in New York City and has been called "the Master of the Comedie Humaine" (Rubinstein 224).

She captured the tragic and comic side of people living in cities, many of them on velvety lithographs where she used a crayon technique to create white shapes against dark backgrounds--parodies of the human situation. She also did portraits and architectural prints. She has been labelled an American Scene painter, a colleague of Wanda Gag and Rockwell Kent.

She was born in Cincinnati, raised in New Orleans, and studied art in San Francisco at the Hopkins Art School where she was a contemporary of California decorative artist Lucia Matthews. However, Dwight's work gives no indication of that influence. She became a socialist and full of religious fervor, ever championing the underdog in society. She believed that poverty was the great disease and was totally unnecessary in modern times.

She traveled extensively in Europe but did not come into her own style until she was in her fifties. In Paris, she worked with the French printer, Cuchatel, and made lithographs of the city which led to her commitment to that medium. In the United States, she became known for her dark lithographs of city life, and between 1935 and 1939, did prints and watercolors for the Federal Art Project.

Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein, American Women Artists

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Mabel Jacque Williamson Dwight was born in Cincinnati, OH on Jan. 31, 1875. During the 1890s Williamson was a resident of San Francisco and a pupil at the Mark Hopkins Art Institute. By 1904 she had moved to NYC. Her rare works include scenes of the Alameda marshes and sand dunes. Exh: Mechanics' Inst. (SF), 1895; SFAA, 1896-98; Sketch Club (SF), 1898; Calif. State Fair, 1899. 1900.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
AAA 1898-1904.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

Biography from William R Talbot Fine Art:
A very important print maker of the Depression Era, Mabel Dwight is known primarily for her Social Realist images of New York City—often satirical depictions crowded with comic and tragic figures.

Mabel Dwight (1876–1955) was born in Cincinnati and raised in New Orleans and San Francisco where she attended the Mark Hopkins School of Fine Art.  Born Mabel Jacque Williamson, she was married to the artist Eugene Higgins for some time after moving to Greenwich Village in 1903. Following their separation, she assumed the name Dwight, and became a founding member of the influential Whitney Studio Club.

It was not until 1926, at the age of 52, that Dwight found her medium in lithography when she went to Paris to study with the print maker Cuchatel. Her work was soon recognized with reproductions in Vanity Fair, a national touring exhibition, and prominence among artists represented by the Weyhe Gallery in New York City. Howard Cook, who was also represented by Weyhe Gallery, likely influenced other artists such as Dwight to visit New Mexico at the time (Adams). During the Great Depression, Dwight also participated in the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

Dwight’s artworks are found in a number of important collections, including the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, Harvard University Art Museums, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C., the Smithsonian Institution, and the U.S. Library of Congress. Another copy of the present print forms part of the collection of the Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque.

Refs.: Adams, Printmaking in New Mexico 1880–1990, p. 36, pl. 30; Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, An American Collection, p. 230; Georgia Museum of Art, The American Scene on Paper, p. 85–91; National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Permanent Collection,; Wolff, AngloModern, p. 31.

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