Mabel Dwight studied painting in her youth at the Hopkins School of Art in San Francisco but did not begin her career as printmaker until she was 52. A midwesterner by birth, Mabel traveled from Cincinnati, Ohio to spend her early years in New Orleans, Louisiana, and San Francisco, California as well as traveling internationally to France, Italy, India, and Sri Lanka. In 1927, she became interested in the artistic medium of lithography while she was staying in Paris.
Dwight, who was deaf for most of her life, was dubbed by Carl Zigrosser as the master of “comédie humaine” due to the way she observed and captured daily human drama in her art. Dwight used a variety of expressive devices to capture the emotional range of a crowd with body language. She often creates works with a perspective of being in the midst of the activity with her own reactions integrated into those of the captured bystanders.
Interestingly, Dwight was an extremely private person. She rarely spoke of her personal life to anyone nor did she keep a journal or diary. In fact, even her surname “Dwight” was invented to maintain her privacy. [Paraphrased from the Mabel Dwight Catalogue Raisonne by Robinson/Pirog]
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