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Dusti Bongé, Art and Life - Biloxi, New Orleans, New York

Dusti Bongé, Art and Life

Biloxi, New Orleans, New York

By J. Richard Gruber
Hardcover : 9780578476919, 352 pages, More than 500 color and b&w illustrations, June 2019

The definitive volume on one of the most important female artists in twentieth-century American art


The art of Dusti Bongé was influenced by her experiences in three distinctive American cities: Biloxi, Mississippi; New Orleans, Louisiana; and New York, New York. In developing her artistic practice in these vibrant urban settings, she portrayed a unique sense of place in her work. In Dusti Bongé, Art and Life, which includes over 500 color images, J. Richard Gruber documents Dusti Bongé's full career and her key role in the twentieth-century art world and in a highly creative family, including her husband, Archie (1901‒1936); her son, photographer Lyle Bongé (1929–2009); and her grandson, photographer Paul Bongé (b. 1963).

Born in Biloxi in 1903, she died there in 1993, living on the family property where she was raised. After graduating from Blue Mountain College in 1922, she moved to Chicago and became an actress, and then moved to New York to act on stage and in silent movies. She married artist Archie Bongé in 1928 and lived in New York until they moved to Biloxi in 1934 with Lyle.

Following Archie’s premature death in 1936, Dusti dedicated herself to working as an artist. Initially, she exhibited in New Orleans and Biloxi, and then in New York, where she became affiliated with the famed Betty Parsons Gallery in 1946. There she was given a series of one-person exhibitions in the years from 1956 to 1975. Her art achieved national recognition through her shows at the Parsons Gallery, when New York replaced Paris as an international art center and Abstract Expressionism became a leading influence in the art world.

Dusti Bongé, Art and Life explores the full range of the artist’s creativity, extending from her stage acting to her activities in painting, sculpting, printmaking, sewing, writing, and poetry.