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Sullivan Goss is pleased to present their second solo exhibition from the estate of the artist, Leon Dabo, NA (1864-1960). Leon Dabo: Toutes Les Fleurs offers the largest selection of mystical floral pastels by the French-born American artist ever assembled — many of which have not been seen for about eighty years. For connoisseurs and curators, these vividly-colored, lost works will likely be a surprise, as Dabo is more often thought of as a Tonalist – an artist whose use of color is marked by restraint. From a later press release from Knoedler Gallery: “…not even his intimate friends had the faintest inkling that the painting of flowers constituted a secret and jealously guarded passion.” Out of all of his works, the floral pastels of Leon Dabo may provide the most intimate portrait of the artist himself.

Often thought of as a secondary medium, pastel works were not prominent in the art world until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when a renewed interest for the medium emerged in Europe. Expatriates Mary Cassatt and James McNeill Whistler and Frenchman, Jean-François Millet, used the medium to create Modern and sophisticated new images that inspired artists and viewers the world over.



In 1911, Leon Dabo helped found and became the chairman of the Pastellists—a group of American artists in New York who were committed to the medium and its myriad possibilities. Many of the Eight exhibited with The Pastellists, but such noted impressionists as Mary Cassatt and Childe Hassam were also among those to exhibit with the group. Interestingly, Dabo did not exhibit any of his floral pastels in these shows, but rather showed Tonal pastel seascapes and landscape, several of which will be included in this exhibition.

Leon Dabo drew influence from Japanese ukiyo-e prints with their asymmetrical tendencies, flattened depth of field, and verticality. He also studied the styles employed by his teachers, most notably Whistler, Puvis de Chavannes, and John La Farge. However, the most noticeable influence in both style and content would have been Odilon Redon; the artists share a philosophical sensibility and a poet-mystic persona that suffused every petal of their floral works. 

In 1933, the Knoedler Gallery displayed an exhibition of Dabo’s floral works—his closely guarded floral pastels finally had their time to shine. Sullivan Goss is pleased to present these intimate and beautiful works once again.


4:02 | Frank Goss

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