Dorathy Bruce Rediscovered…

The wealth of art and artists in Oregon amazes.  It is deep and multifaceted, and includes many generations of people making things of beauty.  In a way our lives of late have been like a treasure hunt…one artist discovered (Rex Amos) leads to another (Matt Glavin) and…to another. In this case Dorathy Bruce, born near Johnson Creek c.1904, grew up in Portland and attended the Museum Art School (now PNCA) for three years before heading to New York city where she studied at the National Academy of Design and the New School for Social Research.  She married NYC artist and muralist Fred Farr (who she had met in Portland at the Golden Dragon Restaurant above Cameron’s Books) and worked both with him and then alone for 18 years before returning to Portland in 1959.  She and Farr painted a mural for the Social Security Building in D.C.  and she made a post-Cubist collage mural of different colors and values of sandpaper (wouldn’t you like to see THIS!!?!) for the Singer Furniture Company in New York City.  In addition to the murals she was “an easel painter” and did batik.  Four batiks made by Dorathy Bruce have recently come to light and they are beautiful (apologies for the photos). Two are on linen, and two on silk.

Dorathy Bruce exhibited work at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Walker Art Gallery, The Portland Art Museum and a long list of other venues. I’m tantalized by these four batiks and wish I could see more.  Her last two shows were at the Sally Judd Gallery and the Wentz Gallery in the early 1970’s…and now the work has it’s own life and goes on without her…


  1. You have made my morning, Bonnie. I feel so enriched by your explorations and reporting. Thank you.

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