Artwork Information

  • Title:

    Watcher D

  • Artist:

    Dehner, Dorothy

  • Artist Bio:

    American, 1901–1994

  • Date:


  • Medium:

    Cor-Ten steel

  • Dimensions:

    108 x 28 x 28 inches

  • Credit Line:

    Wichita Art Museum, Museum purchase with funds donated by the Volunteer Alliance, Friends of the Wichita Art Museum to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Wichita Art Musuem

  • Object Number:


  • Display:

    Not Currently on Display

About the Artwork

Dorothy Dehner is one of America’s highly creative and most renowned contemporary sculptors. Over the years she has executed both large scale works as well as extremely small table pieces. She has never been con­cerned with depicting familiar objects but has preferred instead to create new realities which are emotionally charged, and which project an iconic presence, commanding immediate and lasting attention. What is so fascinating about so many of Dehner’s works is the sense of timelessness which they evoke, always remind­ing the viewer of the continuing links between the mythic past and the energy felt in tribal art on the one hand and of the dynamism of our own contemporary moment in time on the other hand.

This quite marvelous sense of temporal continuity is clearly suggested in this relatively recent work titled Watcher D executed early in 1985 and soon thereafter installed here at the Wichita Art Museum to com­memorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Museum. Especially noteworthy are the structural rela­tionships which Dehner has introduced in this work and the rich warm variegated color tones accomplished in her use of Cor-Ten steel.

Watcher D is a composition consisting of pure geometry in which the artist has effectively com­bined rectilinear with curvilinear forms. Moreover, Watcher D is a tall and erect assemblage with marked totemic character and as a result the work clearly makes anthropomorphic allusions, no doubt a debt to the teachings of her close friend John Graham and to the lingering influence of African sculpture which has fascinated her throughout her career.

Dorothy Dehner was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1901 and has been active in the development of contemporary sculptural form in New York City for more than 60 years. She has produced important sculptures in bronze, wood and Cor-Ten and is widely represented in major collections, both private and public, throughout the United States and abroad. She held more than sixty solo exhibitions in galleries and in American museums.