In 1942, art patron Peggy Guggenheim invited Richard Pousette-Dart to exhibit at her New York gallery and paint a portrait of her teenage daughter Pegeen. The right half of the painting mirrors, and formally dissolves, the firmly articulated left half. Pegeen's pony-tailed profile teems with biological activity even as it competes with the unmistakable presence of African sculpture: a Senufo face mask, a Kota reliquary figure, and a Bamana antelope can be seen in the painting's textured surface. Eyes abound as symbols of the young girl's curiosity.
Artist Richard Pousette-Dart
American, 1916-1992
  • Portrait of Pegeen
Date between 1942 and 1943
Medium oil on linen
Dimensions Overall: 50 × 52 inches (127 × 132.1 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, W. Hawkins Ferry Fund
Accession Number 1989.71
Department Contemporary Art after 1950
Not On View
1989-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Bulletin of the DIA 66, nos 2/3 (1990): 7, fig. 4 (ill.).

Hobbs, Robert and Joanne Kuebler. Richard Pousette-Dart. Indianapolis, IN and Bloomington, IL, 1990, p. 98, 101 (ill.).

Ehrhard, Ingrid and Katya Hilbig, eds. The Living Edge: Richard Pousette-Dart, 1916-1992: Works on Paper. Frankfurt, 2001, p. 32.

Kruty, Paul. "Richard Pousette-Dart, Paintings 1939-1985." In Transcending Abstraction: Richard Pousette-Dart, Paintings, 1939-1985, ed. Sam Hunter. Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 1986, pp. 27, 28, 29, 30, 40 (ill.).