For our August auction, we will have a very special selection of art from none other than Dahlov Ipcar, including a gorgeous piece entitled “Lion of Darkness, Lamb of Light; Lamb of Midnight, Lion of Morn,” an oil painting depicting the duality of Light and Darkness.
We have previously featured Ipcar’s iconic works before in past auctions, but what’s the story behind Ipcar? Where did she get her style? How did she gain notoriety as Maine’s most recognizable artist and childrens’ illustrator?
Dahlov Ipcar was born in Windsor, Vermont on November 12, 1917, to William Zorach and Marguerite Zorach, a sculptor and painter, respectively. Eventually, the family moved to Greenwich Village in New York City, where her parents worked and taught during the school year, then they vacationed in Georgetown, Maine.
Ipcar liked cave paintings, Persian miniatures, Henri Rousseau’s jungle scenes, Japanese art, cubism — all of which she found in her father’s library, in the family’s farmhouse.
Along with her varied art interests, her parents decided to have a hands-off approach in regards to finding her own style, so she never went to a specialized art school, but instead attended progressive schools like City and Country, Walden, and Lincoln School of Teachers College.
Ipcar eventually put together her own unique approach with vibrant animals and landscapes from all those combined interests.
This type of parenting paid off, as her first solo gallery showing occurred at the Museum of Modern Art when she was only 22, in 1939.
Around the early 1930s, she married Adolph Ipcar, and moved to a small dairy farm in Georgetown, where she spent the rest of her life, raising her two sons, managing the dairy farm and continuing to paint, illustrate and write children’s books.
She began to write and illustrate children’s books with this art iconic style of hers in the 1940s, with more than 40 titles to date. Yarmouth’s Islandport Press has reissued her titles since 2010.
With her accomplished art gracing the halls of many museums and galleries, she grew into a recognizable name among prolific art collectors worldwide. Her work is in permanent collections of numerous museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Dahlov completed 10 mural projects for public buildings, two for the U.S. Post Offices in LaFollette, Tennessee, and Yukon, Oklahoma. Her murals in Maine include the children’s room at the Patten Free Library in Bath, and a 106 ft. panorama of Maine animals in the Narragansett Elementary School, Gorham. “Golden Savannah,” a 21 ft. mural of African wildlife, is currently installed in the atrium of the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children in Springfield, Massachusetts.
In 1972, Dahlov received the Maine Governor’s Award for her contributions to the Maine arts. She also received three honorary degrees from The University of Maine, Colby, and Bates Colleges. In 1998, The University of Minnesota awarded Dahlov with The Kerlan Award for Children’s literature. In 2012, The Farnsworth Museum gave Dahlov the Maine in America Award.
In 2012, the Farnsworth Museum of Art awarded her with the Maine in America Award which honors her outstanding contribution to Maine's role in American art. In May - June 2017, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art exhibited her early work, including a selection of original work from her 1939 solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.”
Dahlov continued painting until she passed away Feb. 10, 2017, at the age of 99.
“I find it hard to explain my art, but then it doesn’t really need explanation. It may seem mysterious or challenging, but all you need to do is to open your heart to the joy and excitement of a new visual experience, to accept a new vision of a world full of the unusual, a world of the creative imagination. ” –Ipcar