Dotty Attie

b. 1938

Born in Pennsauken, New Jersey; lives in New York, New York.

Attie is best known for her deconstructions of Old Master paintings. She isolates and meticulously copies fragments from paintings by artists such as Caravaggio, Courbet, Eakins, and Ingres, inviting us to us to see them in a 21st century context.

Attie’s 1996 Tamarind lithograph, Exile, has layered meaning, and is, literally, constructed in layers. In this image, she uses her phenomenal drawing skills to pair visual quotations from two paintings by the 19th century French painter, Gustave Courbet, The Wrestlers and The Origin of the World. She overlaid text from a letter that Courbet wrote when he was in exile at the end of his life. Courbet was a rebel who painted the world as he saw it, choosing subject matter that was often considered scandalous, going so far as to portray female genitalia in his famous work, The Origin of the World. In keeping with Courbet’s proclivity for social commentary, Attie addresses the question of violence and the position of women in our world today. Her re-interpretations are highly personal, and they draw attention to the voyeuristic gaze of traditional male artists to make a statement about the vulnerability of women.