Study for Mural (Central Nurses Home on Welfare Island)

Rosalind Bengelsdorf American

Not on view

Rosalind Bengelsdorf was a founding member of the American Abstract Artist group, a collective that formed in 1936 to advocate for non-representational painting and sculpture. She was also an accomplished muralist, having worked in the WPA Federal Art Project with fellow AAA member Burgoyne Diller for the Central Nurses Home on Welfare Island (now Roosevelt’s Island).

This small gouache by Bengelsdorf is a study for a mural she executed in the Central Nurses Home, though the mural in its finished form (now destroyed) appeared in a slightly different design than the study indicates. The study’s quasi-synthetic cubist style reflects the concerns of the AAA, and its grid indicates the artist’s intent to transfer her design to a larger scale. It shows a blue cruciform shape in the center, while less easily recognizable planes of color occupy spaces to either side. The sound hole and contours of a guitar occupy part of the right-hand side. Rendered mostly in brown, grey and tan, which are offset by ultramarine, the work exudes a weighty, serious mood despite its modest size.

Study for Mural (Central Nurses Home on Welfare Island), Rosalind Bengelsdorf (American, New York 1916–1979 New York), Gouache on paper

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