Bonner, Mary (1885–1935)

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Bonner, Mary (1885–1935)

American artist noted for her etchings of the American West. Born in Bastrop, Louisiana, in 1885; died in San Antonio, Texas, on June 26, 1935.

Mary Bonner, who would gain international attention for her etchings of the American West, did not begin printmaking until 1922, at age 37. Originally interested in lithography, she was told the technique might be too strenuous, so she journeyed to Paris to study etching with Edouard Leon. Her first exhibition in Europe (1925) was enthusiastically received and won her the Palmes Academique from the French government.

Bonner was hailed as one of the most original interpreters of the American West. Her friezes, described by Doris Dawdy as characterized by borders of "rattlesnakes and bats, game roosters and horned frogs," were lauded as "the only absolutely new motif in design since the Italian Renaissance." Her work is displayed at the New York Public Library and the Luxembourg Museum. Several of her friezes were purchased by the French government; others were acquired by the British Museum.

sources:

Dawdy, Doris Ostrander. Artists of the American West. Vol. II. Chicago, IL: Swallow Press, 1981.

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