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Celebrating The Life Of Dahlov Ipcar

Image: Dahlov Ipcar at her studio in 2011 (photography by Greg Morell).

Image: Dahlov Ipcar at her studio in 2011 (photography by Greg Morell).

By Greg Morell

Manchester, New Hampshire – Dahlov Ipcar was celebrating her 99th year when her life and her vibrant career as a prolific artist came to an end, February 10, 2017.

I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Dahlov at her Maine home for Artscope Magazine when she was 93. At the time, she was putting the finishing touches on her expansive exhibition of her circle of life paintings for her one-woman show at the University of New Hampshire.

Entering Dahlov’s world was a heady experience of artistic intoxication. Every corner of her domicile was crammed with paintings, bronze busts, sculptures in marble and wood, drawings, soft sculptures, and marionettes, all painted or stitched by Dahlov, or her artist parents.

She was a joyous lover of life and art. Her work is a rich visual feast, an experience full of zest, color, and magical imagery.

At the time if my visit, she had just finished “Blue Moon Circle” destined for her show at UNH. I was amazed that despite her advanced age, she was working at the height of her artistic power.

Taking the visual journey through her paintings is a pleasurable voyage of discovery. What is produced is a world of balance, a veritable cornucopia of visual motifs celebrating the weave of life. From the subterranean worlds of the ocean to the winged creatures of the air, all collaged with colorful exuberance in a beating matrix of interlocking creatures, great and small.

Dahlov Ipcar, born in 1917, was the child of Marguerite and William Zorach. Her father was a sculptor and her mother a painter, both were favored with distinguished careers in the New York art world.

Dahlov was her father’s muse and served as the principal model for both her father and his coterie of art students.  Dahlov was plagued with hours of posing and she confided to me that she dreaded the idea of marriage to another artist fearing yet more tedious hours of posing.

Two of her father’s life size bronzes of Dahlov can be seen locally, one at the Portland Museum of Art and the another at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art.

When I queried Dahlov on the secret of her amazing health, longevity and productivity, she responded: “I credit my luck with my diet — heavy cream, rich butter and eggs, Jersey whole milk and lots of beef and pork.”

My visit and interview with Dahlov was one of the most enriching experiences of my life.