Margaret May Dashiell 1869-1958
Flower Market Richmond
Signed in the plate
Provenance: Estate of the artist; Private collection, Virginia
Sheet size: 12⅜ X 9¼ inches
Frame size: 16⅝ X 13⅜
Framed using Museum Glass™ & all acid-free material
Margaret May Dashiell, who was born in New Orleans, worked and exhibited in New Orleans, Charleston, Richmond, and elsewhere. She moved to Richmond at an early age where she studied under Edward Valentine. She was especially known for her pen and ink, pencil, and watercolor drawings of scenes from life in the old south at the end of the 19th, beginning of the 20th century. Many of her subjects were Blacks, portrayed with dignity and often humor. She recorded actual scenes of Black life in the South as she witnessed it. She once said in an interview:” I never get them to sit for the sketches. I look at them as long as I dare, and come home and quickly sketch them from memory…my sketches are not cartoons, but life studies…if you will examine their faces, you will see the brooding sadness that is there…This certain portion of Southern history should be made immortal, and I hope that my sketches will help make the record that is so necessary if this history is to be made immortal.”
Dashiell was also a writer and a poet, and her published works include Spanish Moss and English Myrtle (1920) and Richmond Reveries (1942). From 1915 to 1930 Dashiell ran The Serendipity Shop in Richmond selling books, prints, paintings, porcelain, glass, fans, and jewelry. During her lifetime her work was exhibited widely, in venues including the Anderson Gallery and the Valentine Museum in Richmond, the museum of Charleston, South Carolina, the Arts and Crafts Club of New Orleans. Her work is found in the permanent collections of the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, the Valentine Museum, the Museum of the Confederacy, and the Virginia Historical Society, all in Richmond, Virginia, and in the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts in Farmville, Virginia. A collection of her watercolors and a selection of her correspondence and manuscripts are in the Southern Historical Collection of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
An exhibition of Dashiell’s work: Street Opera: Reconsidering the Art and Writing of Margaret May Dashiell, opened in the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature at the University of Richmond on February 9, 2006.