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Adolf Dehn

Born 1895, Minnesota. Died in New York in 1968.

Dehn studied at the Minneapolis Institute of Art from 1914-1917 and at the Art Students League in 1917.

When the USA entered World War 1 in 1918 Dehn was drafted to the army but declared himself to be a conscientious objector and was imprisoned for two years. At the end of the war he moved to Europe, working in Paris, Berlin and Vienna producing expressive caricatures satirically depicting, in his favoured medium of lithography, the society and café culture of the ‘Roaring 20s’. These were reminiscent of the work of Georg Grosz, whom he eventually met.

He returned to New York in 1929 and inevitably struggled to survive during the Great Depression but from about 1936 he was successfully selling and publishing lithographs and providing illustrations for magazines such as The New Yorker, Vogue and the New York Review of Books. He had also had taken up painting in watercolour and produced acclaimed works which featured American landscapes as well as his travels to exotic locations such as Haiti, Greece, Italy, Iran and Afghanistan.

Dehn is now regarded as one of the most important and influential American exponents of lithography and watercolour and his work is represented in numerous national collections.