Dusti Swetman Bonge
(American, 1903 - 1993)
"Fishing Boats in Biloxi, Mississippi" circa 1935 , 8 1/2" x 11 1/4", watercolor on paper, framed 14 1/2" x 17 3/8", excellent condition. Work is accompanied by letter from estate. Rare Mississippi coastal scene.
A painter living in Biloxi, Mississippi, Dusti Bonge recorded scenes in modernist style of that city in oil and watercolor. She lived to be ninety years old, and was one of the few southern artists solidly in the modernist school. Dusti was married to New York painter Archie Bongé (1901 – 1936), who died at a young age in 1936. Archie was a tall (6’ 7”) handsome young “cowboy” from Nebraska, who lived in Chicago until 1923 when he moved to New York and there began to gain fame (he sold one painting of a nude for $1000). After falling in love with a New York actress who had moved there from Biloxi, he married Dusti Swetman in 1927. The Bongé’s moved to Biloxi in 1934, forming a friendship with Walter and Sissy Anderson who had married in 1933. Anderson was their best man at their wedding.
In Biloxi, following the birth of the Bongé’s only son, Lyle, Dusti became interested in painting largely influenced by her husband. Upon Archie’s death in 1936, Dusti continued painting and developed a full-time career that spanned 50 years. In 1950's she was member of the Abstract Expressionists movement and was represented by the prestigious Betty Persons gallery in New York City.