Friday, September 28, 2012

From the Farm to the Jungle

Lost and Found, 1981

If you have been following Animalarium for a while, you have likely already seen some works
  by the American painter, illustrator and author Dahlov Ipcar. It's about time that I dedicate
 a full post to this wonderful artist!

World Full of Horses, 1981, thanks to SurrendrDorothy

 Ipcar was born in 1917, the second child of the renowned artists William and Marguerite Zorach, 
and grew up in New York. When her artistic talent began to manifest itself at an early age
her parents didn't enroll her in any art courses, but instead encouraged and nurtured her talent 
in the creative atmosphere of their home, leaving her free to develop her unique personal style. 

One Horse Farm, 1950

Animals were always a part of Dahlov's life: her family's pets rincluded Maine Coon cats, dalmatian dogs, 
rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, goldfish, finches and parakeets. As a young child she dreamt of living in a farm, 
and animals were already her favorite subjectespecially jungle wildlife. The family spent their summers
 in the countryside, and in 1923 they bought a large farm on Georgetown Island, Maine

Ten Big Farms, 1958

In 1936, at age 19, Dahlov married Adolph Ipcar, and the following winter the young couple
 moved into a farmhouse on her parent's property. Both enjoyed their simple rural life devoid
 of modern conveniences such as electricity, indoor plumbing and central heating
They learnt the skills necessary for living off the land from neighbors and old manuals,
and started their own dairy farm. Besides cows, they raised poultry, horses and pigs,
all without outside help. 

Brown Cow Farm, 1959

While working on the farm and raising her two sons, Ipcar continued to work on her art.
 Her chosen subjects were family portraits and scene of farm life. In 1945 she illustrated 
her first children's book, The Little Fisherman by Margaret Wise Brown. 

Hard Scrabble Harvest, 1976

The book's success launched her artistic career, and she went on to write and illustrate
 over thirty children's books of her own. Numerous of these books are based 
on her joyful and frustrating experiences while working on the farm.

 In the '50s Dahlov began experimenting with new artistic ideas, and found inspiration in her childhood love 
for exotic animals. The 1960 book Calico Jungle marked a turning point in her style: the intricate patterns
 and bold colors of these illustrations were to become defining elements of her work.

The Cat at Night, 1969

Bug City, 1975

Blue Savannah, 1978

King Cheetas

Amboseli - Kudo and Wild Dogs, 1976

Dahlov's creative output includes a variety of other projects, including soft sculptures, large-scale murals
 for public buildings, four fantasy novels, and a volume of short stories for adults. Now 92,
 she continues to live on her farm, while her beloved husband died in 2003 at the age of 98

Celeste from the Dahlov Ipcar Rug Collection

Still feisty and energetic, Dahlov paints on a daily basis and is at works on new children's books.
 Fortunately, many of her older titles are being republished by Islandport Press, while a line of rugs
 and pillow's reproducing designs from her children's books is available at the Classic Rug Collection.
 Dahlov's works are in many permanent collections, including the Metropolitan and Whitney museums. 


  1. Thanks for posting about Dahlov Ipcar! Her work is magnetic.

  2. Hi Rob, how funny, I just thought about you... check out next Sunday's "safari"

  3. I have just discovered your blog... I am going to become a fan !
    I love your animalarium, those mixtures between animals and graphics !!
    I often draw my own bestiary.
    Thank you for the discovery of Dahlov Ipcar !

    (I apologize if my English is approximate)

  4. I love Dahlov Ipcar! Her Hard Scrabble Harvest was looking very lonesome on the library self so I took it home and fell in love.

  5. Thanks for your comment Fred!

    Sarah, you got yourself a great find!



Related Posts with Thumbnails