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Dusti Bongé

American, 1903-1993


Curating Works


Dusti Bongé was born in 1903, and raised in Biloxi, Mississippi. She attended Blue Mountain College in 1919 and moved to Chicago to study theater in 1922. In Chicago, she met her future husband, Archie Bongé, a realist painter and cowboy from Nebraska. She also acquired the nickname “Dusti”. Around 1924, they both moved from Chicago to New York. Around 1934 Dusti and Archie returned to Dusti’s hometown of Biloxi to settle down. Dusti enjoyed painting and in 1938, she began to experiment with Surrealism and worked in that style for of over a decade. Her work gradually evolved from surrealism to more abstraction. Initially Bongé exhibited her work in Biloxi and New Orleans. Bongé exhibited her work at the Contemporary Arts Gallery in New York City in 1939, which was her first exhibition in New York. The Betty Parsons Gallery opened in New York in 1946, and Dusti forged a relationship with the Abstract Expressionist dealer who would represent her for many years. Bongé continued to show at Betty Parsons Gallery until 1976. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Mississippi Museum of Art, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Mobile Museum of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, MoMA, and The Johnson Collection.