Dorothy Eugenie Brett

American, 1883 - 1977
Dorothy Eugenie Brett
Born England, 1883
Died New Mexico, 1977

As the daughter of a close advisor to Queen Victoria, Dorothy Brett enjoyed a privileged upbringing in London, England. She studied in London, at the Slade School of Art for four years and at University College. As an aristocrat, she had the opportunity to paint portraits of several English celebrities. Counted among her friends were Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf, George Bernard Shaw, and D.H. and Frieda Lawrence.

When Mabel Dodge Luhan extended an invitation to the Lawrences to visit Taos in 1924, Brett accompanied them. When the Lawrences moved on, Brett stayed behind establishing permanent residence in Taos. In 1938, she became a citizen of the United States.

Brett was deaf by the age of 27 and is often remembered for the brass ear-trumpet she carried along with her.

Throughout her extensive career, Brett painted portraits, landscapes, single Indian dancers, mystic or symbolic pieces, and, said to be her favorite subject, the Taos Indian celebrations. Like many of her European contemporaries, Brett's interest in Native Americans stemmed from seeing Buffalo Bill's touring Wild West Show.

Exhibited: Corcoran Gallery, 1932; Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1950; University of Illinois, 1953; American-British Art Club, 1950;

Works held: Museum of New Mexico; Buffalo Museum of Science.

Further Reading: The Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West, Peggy and Harold Samuels, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1976.; Independent Spirits: Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945, Patricia Trenton, Ed., Published for the Autrey Museum of Western Heritage by the University of California Press, Berkeley & Los Angeles, California, 1995.

Biography courtesy of David Cook Galleries,
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