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Colorful, Detailed, Compelling and Iconographic

by Patrick Bulla

The paintings of former Nyack resident Dorothy Johnson Deyrup are the subject of a retrospective exhibition at The Edward Hopper House Arts Center in Nyack from Saturday Feb 13 – March 21.

Born today, we might consider Dorothy a photojournalist, having traded her camera for a brush, for her work is compelling and iconographic, telling stories and depicting moments in life suspended in time.

For more than thirty years, Dorothy Alden Johnson Deyrup (1908 – 1961) created work of visual power and beauty. Her paintings, watercolors, woodcuts and illustrations are detailed, colorful, and realistic. They are striking, yet simultaneously subtle and charming, and they lure an audience to witness the people, places and events she experienced throughout her life.

The paintings displayed in this exhibit depict scenes of the family, Nyack, the Hudson River, New York City and her travels as well as Dorothy’s interest in industry. These works have not been viewed in over 50 years, though Dorothy had several independent shows in her lifetime at various galleries in New York.

Dorothy still has family ties to Nyack; she is survived by her baby sister Astrith, living here on the family’s property on and in Manhattan, as well as several nieces and nephews. She lived a glorious life as did all of the seven Deyrup children, home-schooled and college-educated, each rising to great heights in his / her respective field.

While Dorothy was a great student of art, attending school at the The Art Students League and The Grand Central Art School and taking lessons from Robert Hallowell, she painted in no one’s shadow. When asked of Dorothy’s connection to her neighbor Hopper and other artists she had known, Astrith expressed as much as she laughingly replied with pride:

Now there’s a story. Dorothy admired Edward Hopper, he was much older and she thought he did very fine work; [however,] she was very much an individual and self-directed’€¦she admired their [Camilo Egas, Thomas Hart Benton, Jose Orozco] work very much, but’€¦she didn’t fit in with any group of artists the way many of the artists did. She felt very much an individual’€¦I think she knew that she had an enormous gift.

Innovative in diverse mediums and subjects, Dorothy Deyrup’s work transcends categorization and this exhibition presents an unprecedented look at the wide range of her talent, reflective of her independence as a woman and an artist in the early to mid-20th century. How wonderfully appropriate it be exhibited here in the home of her contemporary and Nyack neighbor.

Painting: “Late Snowfall,” exhibited at the Wellons Gallery, New York from April 27 ‘€“ May 9, 1953

Nyack Farmer's Market

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