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Adolf Arthur Dehn

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Adolf Arthur Dehn
Genre, figure and street-landscape painting, illustration.
American, (1895–1968)
Biography from Williams American Art Galleries:

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.

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