A Finding Aid to the Leon Dabo Papers, circa 1888-1969, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.daboleon
Creators:
Dabo, Leon, 1868-1960
Dates:
circa 1888-1969
Languages:
Multiple languages
English; French; German
The collection is in English, French, and German
Physical Description:
1.2 linear feet
Repository:
The papers of painter Leon Dabo date from circa 1888 to 1969 and measure 1.2 linear feet. The collection consists of biographical materials, scattered correspondence, research files relating to the paintings of James Abbott McNeill Whistler, printed mateirals, photographs, and works of art. Also found is a paint palette and brushes reportedly owned by Whistler and a walking stick.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of painter Leon Dabo date from circa 1888 to 1969 and measure 1.2 linear feet. The collection consists of biographical materials, scattered correspondence, research files relating to the paintings of James Abbott McNeill Whistler, printed mateirals, photographs, and works of art. Also found is a paint palette and brushes reportedly owned by Whistler and a walking stick.
Biographical materials include biographical sketches and resumes, certificates, membership and military records. Also found is a poem written for Dabo by Helen Hays Whitney and material relating to Dabo's brother, Theodore Scott Dabo. Correspondence is scattered and includes letters written between Leon and T. Scott Dabo with the Detroit Museum of Art concering their art. Research files contain printed material, a letter, and annotated photographs of works of art relating to Dabo's verification of forgeries of Whistler. Printed materials include clippings, a speech, exhibition announcements and catalogs, and English and German art publications including articles about Dabo and Whistler. Photographs include portraits and snapshots of Dabo and others, including one taken of Dabo by Peter Juley, and of works of art. Group photographs depict Dabo's wife, his military service during World War I, and an alumni dinner of the Académie Julian. The papers include fourteen oil studies, a sketch by Dabo, and an unsigned caricature of Dabo.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 6 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1905-circa 1967 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1-2, OV4)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1905-1935, 1969 (1 folder; Box 1)
Series 3: Research Files, circa 1940-circa 1950 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1, OV5)
Series 4: Printed Material, 1903-1965 (0.3 linear feet; Box 1-2, OV4)
Series 5: Photographs, 1910-1947 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1-2, OV4)
Series 6: Artwork and Artifacts, circa 1888-circa 1920 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1-2)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
French-born Leon Dabo (1868-1960) was a tonalist painter active in New York. He is known for his landscapes of the Hudson River Valley, influenced by James Abbott McNeill Whistler.
The eldest child of artist Ignace Scott Dabo and Madeleine Dabo, Leon Dabo was born in France around 1868. To avoid the Franco-Prussian War, the family left France and settled in Detroit, Michigan where Ignace worked as a decorative artist. Leon Dabo moved to New York City to work to support his family after the death of his father, with the goal of sending his brother Theodore Scott Dabo to study art. Ultimately, Dabo focused on his own painting and studied in Paris, Munich and London. In London, he became acquainted with James Abbott McNeill Whistler who became a strong influence on Dabo. After returning to New York City in 1890, he kept a studio in Brooklyn and exhibited throughout the city. During World War I, Dabo served in the British and French military detecting German accents. Later, he served as an interpreter for the United States. Dabo married Jennie Ford in 1889 and had two children, Madeleine and Leon. After Jennie's death, he married Stephanie Ofenthal. Leon Dabo died in 1960 in New York City.

Administration
Processing Information
The Leon Dabo papers were partially microfilmed in several increments onto reels 677, 692, D388, and N69-137. In 2013, the papers were merged and described by Jayna Josefson with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Author
Jayna M. Josefson
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Leon Dabo papers were donated in several installments by his widow, Stephanie Ofenthal Dabo from 1969 to 1972. A photograph of Dabo taken by Peter Juley was a gift from an unknown donor in 1963.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Leon Dabo papers, circa 1888-1969. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Use
The Leon Dabo papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Landscape painters Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Muralists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, American -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketches Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Académie Julian -- Photographs Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dabo, Theodore Scott, 1877-1928 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Detroit Museum of Art Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
James McNeill Whistler, 1834-1903 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/