ADOLF DEHN, N. A. (American, 1895 - 1968)

Adolf Dehn, a National Academician, was one of the most important artist in the American Regionalism/American Modernism movements.

Adolf Dehn, printmaker, watercolorist, and illustrator, was born in Waterville, Minnesota, in 1895.  In 1914 he began studying at the Minneapolis School of Art, and in 1917, the year his first published drawing appeared in the progressive magazine, the Masses, he received a scholarship to study at the Art Students League in New York.  There he worked with Kenneth Hayes Miller and was introduced to lithography by Boardman Robinson. While in New York, Dehn threw himself into liberal politics. Declaring himself a conscientious objector in 1918, he was forced to spend four months in a Spartanburg, South Carolina, boot camp for refusing to serve in the armed forces and eight months as a volunteer instructor teaching painting and drawing at a hospital for war victims in Asheville, North Carolina. Dehn spent the years 1920 to 1929 in art-related travel in Europe, primarily in Vienna and in Paris, where he made lithographs at the Atelier Desjobert.  Throughout this time, Dehn exhibited his work at the Weyhe Gallery in New York and contributed drawings both to magazines abroad and to the radical journal The Masses.  Upon his return to New York in 1929, he became a leading figure in printmaking circles, exhibiting his prints to considerable critical acclaim. In 1937, Dehn had worked exclusively in black and white until 1937—halfway through his career—when he began to work in watercolor.  During his summer visits to Minnesota, he created a large body of regional watercolors depicting the lakes and farms of his home state. Lithography and watercolor remained his two primary media, and his subjects ranged from social satire to naturalistic landscapes. He authored the treatise, Water Color Painting, in 1945 and two other instructional books on lithography and watercolor in 1950 and 1955.  From 1938 to 1939 he taught at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, and during the summers of 1940-1942 he taught at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.  In 1939 and 1951 Dehn received Guggenheim Fellowships, and 1961 he was elected Full Academician to the National Academy of Design.  Dehn exhibited throughout his career, and his works are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the British Museum, among others.  Adolf Dehn died in New York in 1968.

Studied
Minneapolis School of Art
Art Students League
With Boardman Robinson
With Kenneth Hayes Miller

Work
Phoenix Art Museum
Arizona State University Art Museum
University of Arizona Museum of Art
San Diego Museum of Art
Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
Denver Art Museum
Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Phillips Collection
Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Jacksonville, FL
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL
Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL
Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Sheldon Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, IN
Edwin Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS
University of Michigan Museum of Art
University of Minnesota
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO
Newark Museum
Brooklyn Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Museum of Modern Art
Whitney Museum of American Art
Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY
Woodstock Art Association, NY
Butler Institute of American Art
Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, PA
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art
Museum of Art at Brigham Young University
Robert Hull Fleming Museum, Burlington, VT
Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, WI
Paine Art Center, Oshkosh, WI
Buffalo Art Center, Cody, WY
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Mount Olive College – Moye Library, Mount Olive, NC

Member
National Academy of Design, Full Membership, 1961
American Academy of Arts and Letters
American Artists Congress
American Society of Painters Sculptors and Gravers
American Printmakers
American Watercolor Society
American Institute of Graphic Artists
Century Association
Woodstock Artists Association

Exhibited
Museum of Modern Art
Boston Museum of Fine Arts
New York Public Library
Society of American Painters, Sculptors and Gravers, 1920
Minneapolis Institute of Art, 1927, 1931
Knoedler Gallery, 1928
National University, Mexico, 1929
American Institute of Graphic Arts, 1929-1935
Newark Public Library, 1929
Salons of America, 1929
American Printmakers Annual, 1929, 1930, 1932-1935
Weyhe Gallery, NY, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1938
Boston Museum, 1930
Cleveland Museum of Art, 1931
Art Institute of Chicago, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1938, 1940-1942, 1943 (prize), 1946, 1949
Whitney Museum of American Art, 1933-1962

References
American Narrative: Art of the 1930’s and 1940’s
Coming Home: American Paintings 1930-1950 from the Schoen Collection
Adolf Dehn Papers.  Archives of American Art
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
American Art from the New York World’s Fair 1939
Baigell, The American Scene: American Painting of the 1930s
Borland, An American Year; Cummings, Dictionary of Contemporary American Artists
Cuthbert, Early Art and Artists in West Virginia
Falk (ed.), Who Was Who in American Art
Hall and Glascock, Great Lakes Muse, American Scene Painting in the Upper Midwest 1910-1960
Heller, Painters of the American Scene
Lumsdaine, (comp.), The Prints of Adolf Dehn: A Catalog Raisonné
Mallett (ed.), Mallett’s Index of Artists
Ness, Minnesota Heroes: Adolf Dehn
Opitz (ed.), Mantle Fielding’s Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers
Pagano, Contemporary American Painting: The Encyclopaedia Britannica Collection
Pearson, The Modern Renaissance in American Art
Phagan, The American Scene and the South: Paintings and Works on Paper, 1930-1946
Stearns (ed.), Illusions of Eden: Visions of the American Heartland
Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
Zigrosser, The Artist in America
Twenty-Four Close-Ups of Contemporary Printmakers