Lois Dodd - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session New York Tuesday, May 16, 2023 | Phillips

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  • At 95 years old, Lois Dodd continues to find beauty in the simple scenes around her. Largely underrepresented in museums, Dodd’s work is currently the subject of the inaugural exhibition at the newly renovated Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut. Titled Lois Dodd: Natural Order, the first museum survey in the New York metropolitan area features 77 paintings and will be on view through May 28th, having originated last fall at the Hall Art Foundation in Reading, Vermont. With a retrospective also planned for next year at the Kunstmuseum Den Haag, The Hague, Dodd is finally enjoying some long overdue recognition.


    Born in 1927, Dodd studied at Cooper Union in the late 1940s before she became one of five founding members—and the only female —of Tanager Gallery in Manhattan’s East Village. This gallery was one of the first artist-run co-op galleries in the city, and is credited with jumpstarting the careers of many household names including Alex Katz and Philip Pearlstein. Later, Dodd taught at Brooklyn College for 20 years, retiring in 1992. Throughout her long career, she has consistently given back to the arts community and received little in return.


    Depicting natural scenes like forests, flowers, waterscapes and interiors as seen through windows and the exteriors of houses, Dodd “loves the observable world.” She pays attention to things like “the vagaries of nature and the specificities of old Maine houses: the way they cleave to the ground, or fill a picture frame, or shine, lights on or off, in the moonlight. She always searches out the underlying geometry but also the underlying life, and the sheer strangeness of it all.”i

    “A house on fire is a hectic scene. Few things, at least on a local scale, are more dramatic. And yet Dodd manages to give this picture a foursquare, almost archetypal quality. She drains the terrible scene of histrionics and elevates it into something concerning but calm, quiet, almost ineluctable.”
    —Sebastian Smee

    Burning House with Clapboards, 2007, belongs to a series of six large-scale paintings, each measuring roughly four by five feet—one of which is housed in the permanent collection of the Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine, donated by the Alex Katz Foundation. All six works were exhibited together for the first time in 2009 at Alexandre Gallery, who has represented the artist for more than 20 years. According to the gallery’s press release, Dodd painted these during the last years of George Bush’s presidency, perhaps a response to the end of a tumultuous era in recent American history. What is most striking about the present work, however, is not the flames engulfing the modest home but rather the gestural marks which surround it. With thin veils of acrylic, Dodd depicts wisps of smoke like trees waving in the wind. Further, the orange glow through the windows feels more like a beautiful setting sun than a tragic event, setting the whole composition aglow with nostalgia and hope.



    Lois Dodd, speaking in her studio with the present work behind her, visible at 3:07



    i Roberta Smith, “Art Review: The Colors and Joys of the Quotidian,” The New York Times, February 28, 2013, online.

    • Provenance

      Alexandre Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      New York, Alexandre Gallery, Lois Dodd: Fire, March 26–April 25, 2009


Burning House with Clapboards

signed and dated "Dodd '07" lower right; signed, titled and dated "LOIS DODD 2007 BURNING HOUSE, With Clapboards" on the stretcher
oil on linen
46 x 64 in. (116.8 x 162.6 cm)
Painted in 2007.

Full Cataloguing

$60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for $215,900

Contact Specialist

Annie Dolan

Specialist, Head of Sale, Morning Session
+1 212 940 1288

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 16 May 2023