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Tales from The Mississippi Story - Dusti Bongé

Friday, May 9, 2014

In this installment, we highlight artist Dusti Bongé, who was born in Biloxi in 1903. Sometimes called “Mississippi’s earliest Modernist painter,” Bongé originally aspired to be an actress. Her raw talent in painting was noticed by her artist husband, Archie, when she used his paints to create an artwork as a means of apologizing for a lovers’ quarrel. She continued painting, though she never pursued classical training. After Archie died in 1936, Dusti Bonge took over his studio as well as his job as rent collector for the Southern Shell Seafood Factory. On her walks through the camps collecting rent, she carried her sketchbook, and some of her work during this period was directly inspired by the scenes she saw, like the painting below.

You can find Dusti Bongé‘s work on view in The Mississippi Story, along with artwork by her son, Lyle. The two works pictured here were gifts to the Museum’s collection from The Dusti Bongé Foundation in Biloxi, who helps preserve Bongé‘s history and artwork.

Credit lines:
TOP: Dusti Bongé, The Balcony, 1943. oil on canvas. Gift of The Dusti Bongé Foundation, Inc.
BOTTOM: Dusti Bongé, Where the Shrimp Pickers Live, 1940. oil on canvas. Gift of The Dusti Bongé Foundation, Inc.