Valentine Dobree (1894-1974):
The Event. (Tryptich), early 1960s
Framed (ref: 9874)
Triptych: 2 x 7 1/4 x 7 1/2 in. (18.5 x 19.5 cm). 1 x 7 1/4 x 11 1/2 in. (18.5 x 29 cm)
Provenance: The Artist's Studio
Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, et al. Women Only Works on Paper. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p. 41.
Praising Valentine Dobrée’s collages in an exhibition of her work at the Claridge Gallery, London, in 1931, a critic for The Sketch observed, ‘her pictures might also have been called mosaics, as they are made out of different coloured wall-paper cut out and pasted together to form Vorticist designs...Her medium does not, as a rule, admit of brilliance, and I found the subdued tones of her patchwork pictures lovely.’
In The Event, Dobrée uses a triptych format to frame an almost cinematic juxtaposition of wallpaper, marbled paper, photographs and journal cuttings, which overlap to create multiple viewpoints, a technique that places her in active dialogue with cubist collage artists, such as Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and Juan Gris (1887-1927). The defamiliarization generated by the rearrangement of elements on the paper, including images of modern buildings, sea and sky, and unidentified objects, also creates multiple realities found in surrealist collage. For Dobrée, collage offered a means of fixing attention on the fragmentation of modern society. ‘The fragments lie around us’, she wrote in 1963, ‘...haunted by experience, extending into a half-conscious dream world’.