Dorr Bothwell Biography

Dorr Bothwell

American

1902-2000

Biography

Dorr Bothwell (née Doris Hodgson Bothwell), painter, printmaker, designer and educator, was born in San Francisco on 3 May 1902 to John and Florence Bothwell. 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 and Rudolph Schaeffer.

After the death of her father, William Bothwell, in 1928, she traveled for four years: the first two years she lived and worked in Samoa and the last two years she explored England, France and Germany. Upon her return to the United States, Bothwell settled in San Diego and married her childhood friend, the sculptor Donal Hord in 1932. Two years later they were separated and she moved to Los Angeles where she joined the circle of post-surrealists which included Lorser Feitelson and Helen Lundberg. Dorr studied under Feitelson in classes organized by under the Public Works of Art Project and she was soon accepted into the mural division of the WPA Federal Art Project completing murals in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Francisco. While working under the WPA, Bothwell learned the technique of serigraphy which she would exploit for her own creative printmaking in the following years.

Bothwell’s educational career included teaching at the San Francisco Art Institute, the Mendocino Art Center, the Parsons School of Design, and the Ansel Adams Photography Workshops in Yosemite. In 1968, she co-wrote with Marlys Mayfield 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 given Pollock-Krasner grants.

Dorr Bothwell's work is represented in the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art at Utah State University, the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and the Hunterian Galleries, Glasgow, Scotland.

Dorr Bothwell died in Fort Bragg, California on 24 September 2000 the age of 98.