National Museum of Women in the Arts
Mabel Dwight
January 31 1875 - September 04 1955
Mabel Dwight, Self-Portrait, 1932. Lithograph on paper. 10 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches (27 x 21 cm). Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, USA.
Place of Birth:
Phonetic Spelling:
MAY-buhl (dw-eye-t)
Minority status:
White non-Hispanic
Work Type/Media:
Drawings and prints, Painting
Artistic Role(s):
Engraver, Lithographer, Painter, Printmaker, Watercolorist
Social Realism
Artist's Biography:
Mabel Dwight was one of the most noted American printmakers of the 1920s and '30s. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, she spent her childhood in New Orleans and San Francisco where she enrolled in art classes and joined the local Sketch Club. This professional organization of women artists offered opportunities for collaborations and exhibitions that were otherwise denied to women at that time. In 1903, she settled in Greenwich Village, New York and, three years later, married painter and etcher Eugene Higgins. Dwight set aside her artistic ambitions during her marriage, but when it ended after eleven years, she became a secretary at the Whitney Studio Club and resumed her studies.

In 1926, Dwight visited Paris where, at age fifty-two, she discovered her medium: lithography. It was through printmaking that she was best able to express her vision of the comedie humaine. Her portraits and scenes of New Yorkers engaged in everyday activities, such as riding the subway or buying hats, demonstrate the compassion and humor with which she approached her subjects. Although satire propelled her initial success, her work during the Depression became more serious and politically-charged: she created anti-fascist images and participated in the New Deal’s Federal Art Project, for which she produced twenty-five lithographs that touched on various urban social and political issues.
Other Occupation(s):
Author, Secretary
Place(s) of Residence:
New York
Where Trained/Schools:
Hopkins School of Art, San Francisco, CA, USA (ca. 1896 - ca. 1898)
Related Visual Artists:
wife of Eugene Higgins friend of George Miller friend of Roderick Seidenberg friend of Carl Zigrosser student of Arthur Mathews
Fellowships, grants and awards:
Pennell Purchase Prize, Third National Exhibition of Prints, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, USA (1945) Honorable Mention, Seventh Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Lithography, Print Club of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA (1935) Honorable Mention, Sixth Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Lithography, Print Club of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA (1934)
Earliest exhibition:
Tenth Semi-Annual Exhibition, Sketch Club, San Francisco, CA, USA (1897)
NMWA exhibition(s):
Women Artists of the New Deal Era: A Selection of Prints and Drawings
The Washington Print Club Thirtieth Anniversary Exhibition: Graphic Legacy
Related places
Sellersvile (died at)