Dale Weaver Totten
Untitled (Man and Woman Talking on a Red Sofa)
Watercolor and ink, 1992.
Image and paper: 11 x 13 1/4 in.
Inventory number: DWT187
Signed by the artist in black ink. Dated “1992” in black ink on reverse side of paper.
A man in blue 18th-century attire faces a blonde woman in a green dress as they sit and talk on a red sofa, with a green bottle and two glasses of wine set out on a table.
Dale Weaver Totten (1938–2008) developed a distinct artistic style throughout his prolific and diverse career, from when he began exhibiting his artwork around 1960, until after he worked for The Walt Disney Company in the late 1970s and 1980s. His later artworks include original watercolors and drawings, which he created independently, and were an extension of his professional experience. His subjects are ordinary people engaged in everyday activities, and through the fluid lines of his pen, the artist captures the essence of their movements and their place in time.
Totten completed three watercolor paintings set in the “boudoir,” each featuring a different couple. This first scene gives an overall impression of ephemerality, movement, and joviality. The figures of the man and woman, as well as the red drapes, couch, and the wooden table with a goblet and wine glasses in the background, are circumscribed with unrestricted lines of black ink. In combination with the lively gestures exchanged between the man and woman, the picture becomes transitory, relating a moment in passing. Nevertheless, the man’s costume is evocative of military uniforms dating to late-18th century France. Totten may have included this anachronistic detail to lend a sense of permanence to the picture, in juxtaposition with its apparent transience.
The Dale Weaver Totten Collection is available exclusively at Jewel Spiegel Gallery in Englewood, New Jersey. You may read the artist’s biography here.
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