Dorothy Dehner: A Retrospective

23 May 2024 – 22 Jun 2024

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

Free admission

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Berry Campbell is pleased to present a retrospective of paintings, drawings, and sculptures by Dorothy Dehner (1901-1994). Dorothy Dehner: A Retrospective weaves together the story of Dehner’s seventy-year artistic career.


May 23  - June 22, 2024

NEW YORK, NEW YORK: Berry Campbell is pleased to present a retrospective of paintings, drawings, and sculptures by Dorothy Dehner (1901-1994). Dorothy Dehner: A Retrospective weaves together the story of Dehner’s seventy-year artistic career starting in the 1930s and culminating with several large-scale monumental sculptures from the 1980s and 1990s. This is the first exhibition of this scope and depth on Dehner since a retrospective at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, in 1995. 

The exhibition begins with an early oil painting of a still life from 1936 and continues with a series iconic ink and watercolor abstract drawings from the 1940s and 1950s using a “wet on wet” technique.  Dorothy Dehner was married to the noted sculptor, David Smith, until their divorce in 1950.  While in the marriage, she felt there could only be one sculptor, and so it was not until 1952 that she gained the success, freedom, and confidence to dare to experiment in new media and her focus shifted entirely to sculpture. This exhibition will feature several early sculptures from the 1950s and 1960s, mostly created with the lost wax process.

An entire gallery will be devoted to her rarely known series of assemblages from the 1970s called I Ching. Louise Nevelson introduced Dehner to John Cage, whose sounds and theories influenced this body of work. Untitled (I Ching) is totemic in feel, made from thin wood pieces placed together in rhythmic patterns. Towards the end of her career, Dehner started working with fabricators to fulfill her dream of making large-scale sculpture. The centerpiece to the exhibition is one the largest she ever created called Prelude and Fugue from 1989, standing over eight feet tall and eight feet wide made from painted black steel. Demeter’s Harrow (1990) is a large-scale playful sculpture created by connecting geometric forms made from Corten Steel.

Joan M. Marter, Ph.D., President of the Dorothy Dehner Foundation, through her research and writing has placed Dehner in the context of other Abstract Expressionists resulting in many recent accolades. In 2023, Dehner was the feature article in the Woman’s Art Journal, “Dorothy Dehner and the Women Sculptors Among the Abstract Expressionists,” which discusses Dehner’s close friendship with Louise Nevelson. Dehner has been included in numerous group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, most recently in Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction (2017). Dehner’s totemic sculpture “Encounter” is currently on view at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Dehner is situated in the canon of Abstract Expressionist sculptors alongside Nevelson, Louise Bourgeois, Herbert Ferber, Ibram Lassaw, David Hare, and David Smith. Her work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Storm King Art Center, The British Museum, and Dresden Museum, among many others. Berry Campbell represents the Dorothy Dehner Foundation.

Dorothy Dehner: A Retrospective is on view at Berry Campbell from May 23 through June 22, 2024, with an opening reception on Thursday, May 30, 2024, from 6 to 8 p.m.  The exhibition is accompanied by a 64-page, fully illustrated catalogue with an introduction by Joan M. Marter, Ph.D. and a full-length essay by Sophie Lachowsky. The gallery will host a panel discussion led by Dr. Marter on Saturday, June 1 at 3 p.m.

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. or by request. For further information please call the gallery at 212.924.2178 or visit us online at berrycampbell.com. For press inquiries, please contact berrycampbell@suttoncomms.com or call 212.202.3402.

Christine Berry and Martha Campbell opened Berry Campbell Gallery in Chelsea, New York, ten years ago. The gallery has a fine-tuned program representing artists of post-war American painting that have been underrepresented or neglected, particularly the women of Abstract Expressionism. Since its inception, the gallery has developed a strong emphasis in research to bring to light artists overlooked due to age, race, gender, or geography. This unique perspective has been increasingly recognized by curators, collectors, and the press.

In 2022, Berry Campbell moved to 524 W 26th Street, one of the most prestigious blocks in Chelsea. The 9,000 square foot space was previously inhabited by art world icons such as Paula Cooper Gallery and Robert Miller Gallery.

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Dorothy Dehner


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