Dorr Bothwell

Click on an image for a larger view and the artist’s gallery

Dorr Both­well
1902 – 2000

Dorr Both­well was born in San Fran­cisco where, in the mid 1920s, she had a studio and art gallery at the Mont­gomery Block, heart of the bohemian intel­lec­tual life of the city. In 1928, Both­well trav­eled alone to Amer­ican Samoa where she lived for two years doing work which she always consid­ered her very best and which influ­enced all her later art. She also drew inspi­ra­tion from her travels in Europe, South­east Asia and Africa.
An inno­vator in the use of serig­raphy as a fine art medium, Dorr Both­well also produced major work in painting and collage. Her work is in collec­tions world­wide, both private and public; a partial list includes the Biblio­theque Nationale, Paris, the Metro­pol­itan Museum of Art, New York, the National Gallery of Art, Wash­ington, D.C., the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Library of Congress, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
At Bill Zacha’s invi­ta­tion, in 1960 Both­well came to Mendo­cino to teach at the Mendo­cino Art Center. So intent was Zacha on keeping Dorr Both­well in Mendo­cino that he built her a combi­na­tion home and studio space at the corner of Kasten and Albion Streets and later built her a larger place by his rose garden behind the Bay Window Gallery.
Although Both­well often escaped rainy Mendo­cino winters at her studio in Joshua Tree, Mendo­cino became her home and, as with so many who came to Mendo­cino, her work changed. A brief biog­raphy on the website of her long­time dealer, the Tobey C. Moss Gallery, alludes to her change of focus: “A thread of surre­ality and abstrac­tion is observed in her paint­ings of the late 1920s through the 1950s, over­taken by her irre­press­ible gusto for life and nature.” That “irre­press­ible gusto” produced the vibrant collages, the images of Mendo­cino cats and fences in her painting and serig­raphy, the large format canvases on meta­phys­ical themes of Dorr Bothwell’s last forty years.

At the Mendo­cino Art Center Both­well mentored gener­a­tions of younger artists with insight and generosity. In addi­tion to her work in painting, serig­raphy and collage, Dorr Both­well was a gifted teacher of serig­raphy, collage, color theory and design, including notan.
First published in 1968, “Notan, the Light-Dark Prin­ciple of Design” by Dorr Both­well and Marlys Mayfield, ISBN 048626856X, Dover Publi­ca­tions, 1991, $7.95, is avail­able from Gallery Book­shop in Mendo­cino.
A partial list of Dorr Bothwell’s teaching credits includes the Parsons School of Design, New York, the Cali­fornia School of Fine Arts and the San Fran­cisco Art Insti­tute.
 — Carol Goodwin Blick (2008)
Zacha’s Bay Window Gallery offers a selec­tion of Dorr Bothwell’s works for sale as well as a growing archive for art lovers and scholars.

The Dorr Both­well Archives, 1921 – 2001
In 2005, the Archives of Amer­ican Art’s West Coast office, previ­ously located in the Hunt­ington Library’s Virginia Steele Scott Gallery of Amer­ican Art, was closed due to budget constraints. Fortu­nately, the micro­film of unre­stricted mate­rial, including the Dorr Both­well papers, 1921 – 2001, offi­cially held by the Archives in Wash­ington, D.C., remains at the Hunt­ington Library Art Collec­tions, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108; tele­phone 626−405−2100. The Hunt­ington Art Collec­tions staff will continue to provide access to the unre­stricted micro­film by appoint­ment only. To schedule an appoint­ment to view Dorr Bothwell’s archives, call 626−405−2234.

Online Refer­ences
Dorr Both­well papers, 1921 – 2001
Dorr Both­well inter­view, February 27, 1965
Dorr Both­well Chronology, Tobey C. Moss Gallery
Doris (Dorr) Hodgson Both­well, personal history, The Journal of San Diego History, Summer 1986
Dorr Both­well, biog­raphy with links to images of early work, The Tobey C. Moss Gallery, 2000
Dorr Both­well Memo­rial page, The Tobey C. Moss Gallery, 2000
Dorr Both­well, The Mendo­cino Art Center
Dorr Both­well, Wikipedia

Print Refer­ences
Both­well, Dorr. Dorr Bothwell’s African Sketch­book. Monica Hannasch, editor. Arti Grafiche Ambrosini — Roma, 2000. Print.
Both­well, Dorr and Mayfield, Marlys. Notan: The Dark-Light Prin­ciple of Design. ISBN: 048626856X. Dover Publi­ca­tions, 1991. Print.
Bowers, Karen. “Dorr Both­well: Orig­inal Prints from Three Decades”, Arts & Enter­tain­ment Maga­zine, March/​April 1999. Mendo­cino Art Center, Mendo­cino, Cali­fornia. Print.
Oliver, Myrna. “Dorr Both­well; Painter Lived Nomadic Life.” Los Angeles Times, 21 September 2000: B-8. Print.
Richard, Valliere T. “Dorr Both­well: Edited Biog­raphy.” Arts & Enter­tain­ment Maga­zine, March/​April 1999. Mendo­cino Art Center, Mendo­cino, Cali­fornia.
Trenton, Patricia. Inde­pen­dent Spirits: Women Painters of the Amer­ican West, 1890 – 1945.” ISBN: 9780520202030. Univer­sity of Cali­fornia Press, 1995. Print.