Southwest is a color serigraph from 1952 by American printmaker Dorr Bothwell (1902-2000). This impression is pencil signed, titled, dated, and editioned 21/25. It was printed by the artist on an ivory wove paper and the image measures 10-1/4 x 15-1/8 inches.
Southwest is an alluring abstraction that reads somewhat like a topographical map of southwest, detailing the natural features of the region: forested mountains, rock formations, sand deposits, valley floors, and rivers. Red in nature often represents danger so perhaps the red lines are cautionary reminders that within the region of the southwest there are many hazards. Dorr Bothwell was self-taught in this medium and she stated: “So here I am, practically self-taught–certainly I taught myself serigraphy. I was on the cutting edge. At one point I was the only woman in Northern California doing this. This fits with myself in being an innovative person. Maybe artistically I’m not that hot–I believe that –but I’ve brought things along. And I’m still trying to learn, still trying to show the beauty and design underlying all.”
Painter, printmaker, and educator, Dorris Hodgson Bothwell, known as Dorr, was born in San Francisco in 1902. Her family moved to San Diego in 1911 and Bothwell began her art studies five years later with Anna Valentien. She returned to San Francisco in 1921 and enrolled in the California School of Fine Arts where she was greatly influenced by Gottardo Piazzoni. Bothwell continued her studies at the University of Oregon, Eugene and then returned to San Francisco where she attended the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design.
Bothwell moved to San Diego and then to Los Angeles where she joined the circle of post-surrealists which included Lorser Feitelson and Helen Lundberg. She studied under Feitelson in classes organized by the Public Works of Art Project and she was accepted into the mural division of the WPA and painted murals in Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Francisco. During this time, Bothwell learned the technique of serigraphy.
In 1968, Bothwell and Marlys Mayfield co-wrote the book Notan: On the Interaction of Positive and Negative Spaces, which encompassed the principles developed in her teaching. She received the Abraham Rosenberg Fellowship, the 1979 San Francisco Women in the Arts award, and was twice awarded Pollock-Krasner grants.
Dorr Bothwell is represented in the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge; the Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow; the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Logan; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.