Rondout, New York

Léon Dabo (American, 1868-1960)

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Twinkling lights on the distant shore mixed with dark tonal harmonies create a moody twilight landscape.

The expressive, linear brushwork may have been derived from the study of Asian painting.

Dabo described his landscapes as “pretexts for beautiful color arrangements.”

Leon Dabo and the Whistlerian Style

Leon Dabo was born in France to Ignace Schott, who was an artist, collector, and instructor of aesthetics. He grew up in Detroit, Michigan, trained under his father, and then relocated to New York City, where he met painter and muralist John La Farge. Dabo studied at the École des Arts Décoratifs, Académie Julian, and the École des Beaux Arts. He made numerous visits to James Abbott McNeill Whistler in his London studio. Many of his paintings reflect Whistler's influence in their Tonalist style and in the use of a monogram signature. Dabo became an authority on Whistler. When he returned to New York City, Dabo painted decorative works and murals. He also painted Whistlerian landscapes and seascapes.

Dabo described his landscapes as “pretexts for beautiful color arrangements.” In Rondout, New York, the dark tonal harmonies and subject matter recall Whistler's paintings of the Thames. Dabo's calligraphic brushwork of the trees, boats, and figures may have their source in his study of Asian painting. In this moody twilight view, Dabo took full advantage of the steely gray expanse of the Hudson River at Rondout Creek near Kingston, New York. Lights on the distant shore begin to twinkle, as daylight surrenders to nightfall.

Sessions, Ralph. A Poetic Vision: American Tonalism. New York: Spanierman Gallery, 2006.


Samuel O. Buckner, Milwaukee, Wisconsin;
given to the John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, in 1907.

Object Information

Léon Dabo (American, 1868-1960)
creation date
about 1907
oil on canvas
27 x 36 in. (canvas)
33-1/2 x 42-3/4 x 2-1/2 in. (framed/glazed)
mark descriptions
Inscribed in black paint at lower left: [monogram DABO in capital letters outlined in a square with the "D" overlaid at the proper left portion of the "O" and within the "O" is the "A" and "B" sharing the upright stroke of the "D"] Leon Dabo.
accession number
credit line
Gift of Samuel O. Buckner
© Léon Dabo
American Painting and Sculpture to 1945

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