While little is known of the details of the life of Brussels-born Marguerite Dielman, what we do know is intriguing. She was born in 1880, the daughter of a Brussels police commissaire. She is said to have exhibited at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago, where women artists from several countries were represented in the Palace of Fine Arts. If this information is correct, then she was quite the child prodigy to be so honored at the age of 13. By Googling the above information, I came across a fascinating photo of the paintings, sculptures and decorations that were shown in what was called the “Woman’s Building.”
I’ve found one source that notes that Ms. Dielman was a disciple of Jean-Francois Portaels (1818-1895), the influential genre and landscape painter and dean of the Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. Dielman’s paintings only rarely appear in the art market. The ones I have seen are still lifes of flowers and a few canine portraits that she probably painted on commission. My trusty 2003 edition of “Davenport’s Art Reference and Price Guide” informs me that one of her florals sold at auction for $2,375 in 1997. Dielman is listed in the “Dictionnaire Biographique Illustre des Artistes en Belgique Depuis 1830.” She signed her paintings either fully or as “Marg Dielman.” She died in 1942.
In this sensitive and engaging pastel portrait of a beautiful dog, we can see how the artist earned her professional status. The dog’s fur was artistically and creatively rendered to provide a dream-like image. Dielman’s technical expertise in the use of pastel allowed her to impart the personality of the dog, along with the physical image.
The background was done in shades of turquoise blue, purple, cobalt blue and gray, applied over a rose-hued paper in a very sophisticated manner. This creative use of the background adds to the strong image.
The piece is signed in the lower right-hand corner, “Marg Dielman,” and dated 1934.
It is housed in its original art deco silvered frame. On the back of the frame is the old backing board that has tape imprinted with “Societe Anonyme,” where it may have been exhibited. The Societe was an art organization founded in 1920 that sponsored lectures, concerts, publications, and art exhibitions until its demise in 1950. The Societe, in part, helped familiarize American viewers at venues such as the Brooklyn Museum with artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Fernand Leger, Piet Mondrian and others.
It appears that the pastel was re-fitted at some time, perhaps with newer glass. I believe the artist may have chosen this frame as it perfectly combines with the colors of the pastel painting.
The condition of the pastel is excellent. There is no spotting, staining or insect damage. The condition of the frame is also excellent, with only a small nick in the left corner and a minute loss of silvering in one or two places.
It measures 15-1/8 inches wide and 19-1/2 inches high, including the frame.
Pastel Portrait of a Pomeranian Dog by Marguerite Dielman
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