Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Walter Anderson's Wedding Gift

Shearwater Vase by Walter Inglis Anderson circa 1927
Collection of the Dusti Bonge Foundation
Photo by Richard McCabe
Walter Anderson (1903 - 1965) met Archie Bonge (1901 - 1936) while attending the Pennsylvania Acadamy of Fine Arts, where he graduated in 1928. Archie, a 6'7" cowboy from Nebraska, spent a single semester at the acadamy before moving to New York. There, he found some success as a painter (selling a nude for $1000) and fell in love with Dusti Swetman, a young actress from Biloxi, Mississippi. In 1927, Archie and Dusti were married. Walter Anderson was the best man at their wedding, wearing a suit and tie with sneakers. The Shearwater vase pictured above was created by Walter and given as a wedding gift to the young couple.

Archie and Dusti had one child, Lyle, in 1929, ending Dusti's theatre and film career. The couple moved to a cottage in Biloxi in 1934. Walter Anderson married his wife, Sissy, in 1933, and the two couples were close friends in those years. Archie died suddenly in 1936. Walter entered the mental hospital for the first time in 1937. After the death of her husband, Dusti began painting with his brushes, becoming Mississippi's first true modernist, exhibiting her work alongside the leading Abstract Expressionist painters of the 50s at the important Betty Parson's Gallery in New York.
Untitled oil on canvas by Dusti Bonge, 1938
Collection of Ogden Museum of Southern Art
Gift of the Dusti Bonge Foundation

The wedding vase is currently on display at the Ogden, along with 17 Walter Anderson watercolors from the collection of Wesley and Norman Galen. Also, Dusti Bonge's untitled 1938 abstract oil on canvas (pictured above) is on display on the 4th floor. For more on Walter Anderson and Shearwater pottery, read Dreaming in Clay on the Coast of Mississippi: Love and Art at Shearwater and Fortune's Favorite Child: The Uneasy Life of Walter Anderson, both by Chistopher Maurer, available in the Museum Store.

1 comment:

aline said...

What an exciting experience!/Hilarious! Delightful! True!/wonderful stuff! thank you!
Wedding Gift Ideas