Joellyn T Duesberry (American, 1944 -2016)

Nationally recognized for her dynamic landscape paintings Duesberry’s canvases are remarkable with rich and intense use of color and for their distinct balance of geometric surface and depth of various cityscapes and landscapes around the world. Many of Duesberry’s paintings, though clearly contemporary, echo such great modernist masters as John Marin and Milton Avery. Her use of light, shadow, scale and texture culminates in paintings that are both visually and emotionally arresting.

The Duesberry studio is located in Denver, Colorado and she painted plein-air around the world for 40 plus years. She began exhibiting in New York City in 1979, and had ten New York solo exhibitions, with retrospectives at the Century Association and Denver Art Museum in January 2006, titled “Joellyn Duesberry: Three Decades of Paint.” Her work has shown widely and is represented in public and private collections around the country.

A pivotal point in Duesberry’s career came in 1986 when she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant which enabled her to work with Richard Diebenkorn. Diebenkorn encouraged her to try monotype print-making, and actively produced and exhibited her monotypes along side her plein-air paintings. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts organized “The Covenant of Seasons” which traveled nationally for ten years.

In 2005, a PBS documentary was made of Joellyn Duesberry’s life, work, and creative process titled “Joellyn Duesberry: Dialogue with the Artist.”

Excerpt:  Joellyn Duesberry: Dialogue with the Artist, Producer / director: Amie C. Knox. Courtesy of A bar K Productions 303.370.1267| ABARKproductions@aol.com © 2004, A Bar K Productions, Inc

Artist Statement

A self-taught landscape oil painter, Duesberry painted all over the world but her main areas of focus were the northeast and western United States.  In the winter months when the weather did not permit plein air painting the artist made monotypes from the paintings executed that year, often collaging her own torn prints to experiment with abstraction.

Spending a month with Richard Diebenkorn during a 1986 NEA Painting Grant, prompted her move from Manhattan’s Bowery to Colorado.  The veil of moist Eastern light had obscured the geometry she sought in nature until, in mid-career, she awoke to Southwestern sculptural light and dark, and the architectonic structure underlying Western landscape in all seasons.  As if her abstract sense had been masquerading as landscape, she changed her focus radically, delighting in the revealed TENSION between illusion in depth and flat patterning on the surface of a canvas, avoiding balance or resolve either way.  Travels in two hemispheres, especially in the U.S. south west and Africa, yielded compositions which seem to resonate with pre-verbal childhood memories long ago displaced onto the rural Virginia hills, where first emotions occurred.  This unconscious “mental furniture” has persisted through many iterations no matter upon which continent or square foot she set her easel. Over fifty solo gallery shows in as many years of exhibiting nation-wide have resulted in Museum surveys, the most important being a 50 year retrospective with its accompanying book Elevated Perspective: the Paintings of Joellyn Duesberry, at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 2011.


Broschofsky Galleries
360 East Avenue
Ketchum, ID 83340

In Memoriam

Joellyn Toler Duesberry, age 72, died on August 5, 2016 of pancreatic cancer. Born and brought up in Richmond, Va., she matriculated to Smith College, graduating in 1966 with highest honors. En route to her career as a landscape painter, she acquired a master’s degree from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. Her interest in landscape began at age 5 while traveling on a train, where she became transfixed by the images passing by her window. Painting followed soon after and never stopped until the spring of 2015.

Living in New York City, her career blossomed. As a Woodrow Wilson scholarship recipient followed by a National Endowment for the Arts grant, she was able to reduce her work as a fine art appraiser and spend a greater amount of time painting. She acquired a second home and studio in Millbrook, NY, which allowed her the chance to translate her love of the land into broad statements of that love through her artistry. Many exhibitions followed her development as a painter. Her work resides in numerous museums and private collections around the country.

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