The World Of Dahlov Ipcar







"I find it hard to explain my art, but then it doesn't really need explanation.
It may seem mysterious or challenging, but all you need to do is to open your
heart to the joy and excitement of a new visual experience, to accept a new
vision of a world full of the unusual, a world of the creative imagination."

Dahlov Ipcar - Seven Decades of Creativity...

Biography Page...


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photo by Tom Jones

Biography From Seven Decades of Creativity Catalog
Portland Museum of Art Exhibit 2001-02

Seven Decades of Creativity by Dahlov Ipcar

Short Biography...

Born in Windsor, Vermont, on November 12, 1917, Dahlov Ipcar grew up in New York City's Greenwich Village. While she showed artistic talent at an early age, her parents, William and Marguerite Zorach - both famous artists - did not believe in "art instruction" per se. Consequently Dahlov was never enrolled in art schools or art courses as a child.

Nonetheless the Zorachs provided their personal encouragement and inspiration, allowing Dahlov the freedom to develop her own unique style. Her parents sent her to some of Manhattan's most progressive schools: City and Country, Walden, and Lincoln School of Teachers College; all of which provided an atmosphere which nurtured her creativity.

The Zorach family spent many summers on the Maine coast in order to escape the heat and bustle of New York City. Maine provided a contact with nature which would leave a lasting impression on Dahlov. When she married in 1936, she and her husband Adolph Ipcar eventually moved to a small dairy farm in Georgetown, Maine, where she has lived ever since.


see slide show

see a 15 minute video by Dahlov - Creative Growth

Dahlov and her husband enjoyed the challenge of simple country living without modern conveniences. They cut their own wood and ice and read by kerosene lamps. Up until 1948 they had no electricity. Indoor plumbing and central heating would come even later. While farm chores and raising two sons were more than a full time job, Dahlov continued to pursue her career as an artist and author.

In 1939 she had her first solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the first of many solo shows over the next forty years. Dahlov's works are now in the permanent collections of many important art institutions such as the Metropolitan, Whitney, and Brooklyn Museums in New York. She is also represented in all the leading art museums of Maine, as well as in many corporate and private collections throughout the country.


In 1945 she illustrated The Little Fisherman, her first children's book, for author Margaret Wise Brown. Since then Dahlov has gone on to write and illustrate thirty children's books of her own. She has also written four fantasy novels for a slightly older audience, as well as a volume of short stories for adults. While her art in general might be described as colorfilled and cheerful, her writings for adults turn to a darker, almost grim intertwining of reality and fantasy.

In the 1940's and 50's, Dahlov's art was influenced by the prevailing style of Social Realism as best illustrated by her paintings of farm workers accompanied by their heavy draft horses and domestic farm animals. However, by the 60's and 70's, although she remained outside of the art movements of the day, her work began to take on a new direction.


Dahlov's love of nature, especially jungle animals, led her to experiment with a more fanciful approach. One of her children's books, Calico Jungle, represents a turning point in her artistic style. The intricate patterns and geometric designs which she developed within those pages were to become her artistic signature.

In addition to easel paintings, illustrations, and soft sculptures, Dahlov has also completed ten large scale mural projects for public buildings, two for U.S. Post Offices in LaFollette, Tennessee and Yukon, Oklahoma. Her murals may be seen at several locations in Maine as well; including the children's room at the Patten Free Library in Bath, and a 106 ft. panorama of Maine animals in the Narragansett Elementary School, Gorham. Golden Savanna, a 21 ft. mural of African wildlife is currently installed in the atrium of the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children in Springfield, Massachusetts.


In 1972, Dahlov and her husband together received the Maine Governor's Award for "significant contributions to Maine in the broad field of the arts and humanities." She has also received three honorary degrees from The University of Maine, Colby, and Bates colleges. In April of 1998, The University of Minnesota honored Dahlov with The Kerlan Award for Children's literature. In 2012, The Farnsworth Museum gave Dahlov the Maine In America Award, an honor given to an individual or group who has made an outstanding contribution to Maine and its role inAmerican Art. She joins previous recipients, Alex Katz, Robert Indiana, Andrew Wyeth, Paul Caponigro, John Wilmerding and Will Barnet.

Though she passed away February 10th,  2017 at age 99, Dahlov continued to produce her fanciful works at her home and studio right up to the end.

Dahlov's birth announcement, William Zorach