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Dusti Bongé, Art and Life: Biloxi, New Orleans, New York
Dusti Bonge, Art and Life
by J. Richard Gruber

First Edition. Signed.
Price: $75.00


Biloxi, MS: Dusti Bongé Art Foundation (2019)

First Edition. Signed by J. Richard Gruber (editor)

As new in dust jacket.

The art of Dusti Bongé (born Eunice Lyle Swetman) was influenced by her experiences in three distinctive American cities: Biloxi, Mississippi; New Orleans, Louisiana; and New York, New York. Born in Biloxi in 1903, she was raised as the daughter of a prominent local banker, and died there in 1993, living her last years on the family property where she was raised, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

After graduating from Blue Mountain College in 1922, she went to Chicago, became an actress, then moved to New York, where she performed on the stage and in silent movies, before she married artist Archie Bongé in 1928. Together, they explored the art world of New York in the years from 1928-1934, until they left Manhattan and moved to Biloxi, and then joined the distinctive art worlds of Biloxi and New Orleans.

Following Archie's premature death in 1936, Dusti dedicated herself to working as an artist, using the studio built by Archie, as she would for the rest of her career. She initially exhibited her art in Biloxi and New Orleans, then in New York, first in 1939. She was included in a range of group exhibitions in New York during the 1940s, before she was given a series of one-person shows at the influential Betty Parsons Gallery, in the years from 1956-1975. In a career spanning more than five decades, her increasingly abstract art works were exhibited in galleries, museums and art centers in New York, New Orleans, Biloxi, and far beyond.

Dusti Bongé's art achieved national recognition through her exhibitions at the Betty Parsons Gallery during the post-war years, when New York replaced Paris as an international art center. Hers was a highly creative life, one initially rooted in theater, movies and vaudeville in Chicago and New York, then expanded to include the American visual art world.

She lived an expansive life, one filled with creativity, passed in unique times and places, leaving a wide range of works, in diverse media, to mark her path through the 20th century. She was also, as this book documents, a member of a highly creative family of artists, including her husband, Archie Bongé (1901-1936), her son, photographer Lyle
Bongé (1929-2009), and her grandson, photographer Paul Bongé (1963- ). The artistic legacy of Dusti Bongé and the Bongé family continues well into the 21st century.

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