Brett, Dorothy, 1883-1977

Alternative names

Hide Profile

British-born painter.

From the description of Dorothy Brett letters to Mark Lutz, Taos, New Mexico, 1957-1965. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 82601125

From the description of Dorothy Brett letters to Mark Lutz, Taos, New Mexico, 1957-1965. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702152797

Dorothy Eugenie Brett (1883-1977) studied at the Slade School of Art and University College in London. She became friends with Dora Carrington, Katherine Mansfield, John Middleton Murry, Frieda and D.H. Lawrence and other members of the Bloomsbury circle. She documented her friendship with Lawrence in "Lawrence and Brett: A Friendship." New York, 1933. Brett visited New Mexico with Frieda and D.H. Lawrence in 1924, and moved to Taos permanently by 1926. She changed her artistic focus to the Native American Pueblo culture, painting landscapes and portraits with their cultural themes. Her efforts helped create an artistic community in Taos.

From the guide to the Dorothy Brett Collection, 1922-1969, 1965-1969, (Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections)

Artist.

From the description of Autograph (7) and typed (1) letters signed : various places, to Herbert J. Seligmann, 1928 Aug.-1965 Mar. 14. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270870411

British painter.

From the description of Dorothy Brett Collection, 1898-1968. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122602011

Dorothy Eugenie Brett, born in 1883, was the eldest daughter of the 2nd Viscount Esher, Reginald Baliol Brett, and his wife Eleanor. Besides Dorothy, called Doll by her family, there were two older brothers, Oliver and Maurice, and a younger sister, Sylvia. The children were raised in a restrictive manner similar to other children of the Victorian era. They saw little of their parents, being largely left in the charge of a nanny and other servants. Once the boys were sent to school, a governess was retained for the girls. However, she was dismissed after a short time and the girls' education was left to their mother.

The girls lived a fairly secluded life into their early twenties. Aside from dancing classes with the royal children at nearby Windsor Castle, under the supervision of no less than Queen Victoria, their contact with young people their own age was practically nonexistent. One friendship that they did make was with Margaret Brook, Ranee of Sarawak, a friendship disapproved of by the Brett parents. Over ten years Dorothy formed an emotional attachment to the Ranee, and Sylvia attracted the attention of the Ranee's son, whom she later married against the wishes of her parents. The parents put an end to Dorothy's visits to the Ranee when she was 23, sending her off to their summer home in Scotland. There, an old friend of the family saw some of Dorothy's drawings and persuaded her parents that she should attend the Slade School of Art.

Dorothy Brett was accepted into the Slade School, on a provisional basis, in the fall of 1910. Fellow students at the time included Dora Carrington, Mark Gertler, and David Bomberg. In the tradition of the school, all students dropped their given names and went by their surnames, and so Dorothy became Brett to everyone but her family and went by that name for the rest of her life. Brett completed the four year program at Slade, winning several prizes and honors in her sojourn there. At the end of her second year, Brett's father set her up in a studio of her own, partly to help her artistically and partly to move her out of the family home in town where the servants had begun to complain about the goings on of Brett's artistic friends.

Several important events took place in Brett's life during her school years. She began to develop the auditory problems that would leave her dependent on hearing aids for the rest of her life. She became friends with Gertler,Carrington and Augustus John and, in 1914, she met Lady Ottoline Morrell. In October of 1915 Brett met D.H. Lawrence and his wife Frieda.

Over the next several years Brett spent a great deal of time at the Morrell's Garsington Manor along with members of the Bloomsbury group. She seems to have developed a crush on Ottoline which led to voluminous correspondence but little else. In 1919 Brett's parents helped set her up in a house in Hampstead, London, arranged for an annual allowance, and made a final effort to push her into independence.

In 1923 D.H. and Frieda Lawrence returned to England from North America, thus setting in motion the second phase of Brett's life. Lawrence had been proposing the creation of a community called Rananim for several years without success. He felt that he had found the perfect location for such a spot in Taos, New Mexico, and was now actively seeking members. Only John Middleton Murry and Brett seriously considered the idea and in the spring of 1924, only Brett joined the Lawrences on the Aquatania bound for New York.

Taos became Brett's home. Though she traveled frequently to Mexico, New York, and even made a few trips back to Europe, her roots were firmly planted in New Mexico. She developed a strong emotional attachment to D.H. Lawrence, and after Lawrence's death continued to live in near Frieda for the remainder of Frieda's life. Mable Dodge Luhan, another prominent figure in Taos, also played an important role in Brett's life, alternating between protector and antagonist. In New Mexico Brett painted Native Americans. She was permitted to visit the Pueblo for important ceremonies and then transferred the images to canvas, creating a series of paintings for which she is perhaps best known, the Ceremonials. Her close relationship to D.H. Lawrence made her popular with the researchers who sought to better understand his life. She lived to within a few months of her 94th birthday, dying on August 24th, 1977.

From the guide to the Dorothy Brett Collection TXRC98-A13., 1898-1968, (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin)

Painter, born London, 1883, died Taos, New Mexico, 1977.

Attended Slade School of Art; joined D.H. and Frieda Lawrence in Taos, 1923; was acquainted with members of Bloomsbury Group and the Taos Art Colony.

From the description of Papers, 1923-1986. (University of New Mexico-Main Campus). WorldCat record id: 21378935

Dorothy Eugenie Brett was born 1883 in London, England to Reginald and Eleanor Brett, Viscount and Viscountess of Esher. Serious studies at the Slade School of Art in London during the first decade of the twentieth century acquainted her with famous members of the Bloomsbury circle such as Dora Carrington, Katherine Mansfield, John Middleton Murry, Aldous Huxley and David Herbert Lawrence.

Despite plans by some members of the Bloomsbury group to settle together in Taos, NM, only Brett eventually joined D. H. and Frieda Lawrence in Taos, New Mexico, and in Oaxaca, Mexico as well. Although well known as a member of the triumvirate (with Frieda and Mabel Dodge Luhan) surrounding D.H. Lawrence and "of late [as] an historical character in the cast of a literary drama assiduously pursued, quoted, misquoted, and paraphrased in a thousand volumes" (Frank Waters, "A Tribute To Brett"), Brett is equally famous as a painter of international reputation. After moving to Taos and being stimulated by its natural beauties and wealth of subjects, she quickly became interested in painting the Taos Indians and their native dances.

Brett's work was influential in the building of Taos as an art colony. In his book Masked Gods, Frank Waters claims that there is something ineffable and compelling about Brett's Indian paintings. She is the only painter I have known who has blindly, intuitively caught the valid mystical component of Pueblo character. She paints their native religious rites, ceremonies, and dances in universal terms that are unmistakable (p. 275).

Together with others interested in the arts, most prominently Mabel Dodge Luhan, she was instrumental in attracting to Taos talented people who gave (and still give) Taos its nationwide reputation as an artists' colony. Dorothy Eugenie Brett died 24 August 1977, almost 94 years of age.

From the guide to the Dorothy Brett Pictorial Collection, 1880-1970, (University of New Mexico, Center for Southwest Research)

Dorothy E. Brett (left) with Georgia O'Keeffe. Part of Dorothy E. Brett Pictorial Collection, PICT 000-494-0086-0112 (Box 1, Folder 4).

Dorothy Eugenie Brett was born 1883 in London, England to Reginald and Eleanor Brett, Viscount and Viscountess of Esher. Serious studies at the Slade School of Art in London during the first decade of the twentieth century acquainted her with famous members of the Bloomsbury circle such as Dora Carrington, Katherine Mansfield, John Middleton Murry, Aldous Huxley and David Herbert Lawrence.

Despite plans by some members of the Bloomsbury group to settle together in Taos, NM, only Brett eventually joined D. H. and Frieda Lawrence in Taos, New Mexico, and in Oaxaca, Mexico as well. Although well known as a member of the triumvirate (with Frieda and Mabel Dodge Luhan) surrounding D.H. Lawrence and "of late [as] an historical character in the cast of a literary drama assiduously pursued, quoted, misquoted, and paraphrased in a thousand volumes" (Frank Waters, "A Tribute To Brett"), Brett is equally famous as a painter of international reputation. After moving to Taos and being stimulated by its natural beauties and wealth of subjects, she quickly became interested in painting the Taos Indians and their native dances.

Brett's work was influential in the building of Taos as an art colony. In his book Masked Gods, Frank Waters claims that there is something ineffable and compelling about Brett's Indian paintings. She is the only painter I have known who has blindly, intuitively caught the valid mystical component of Pueblo character. She paints their native religious rites, ceremonies, and dances in universal terms that are unmistakable (p. 275).

Together with others interested in the arts, most prominently Mabel Dodge Luhan, she was instrumental in attracting to Taos talented people who gave (and still give) Taos its nationwide reputation as an artists' colony. Dorothy Eugenie Brett died 24 August 1977, almost 94 years of age.

From the guide to the Dorothy Brett Papers, 1939-1986, (University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Rebecca Salsbury James papers, 1924-1967, 1930-1939 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Brett, Dorothy : Biographical file. Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
creatorOf Dorothy Brett Papers, 1939-1986 University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research
referencedIn Brett, Dorothy, 1883-1977 : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Schaefer, Elly. Emil Bisttram, Dorothy Brett, K.W. Couse and Skip Scroggins oral histories, 1973 Nov. 8, 9, 11 [sound recording]. Denver Public Library, Central Library
referencedIn Angie Laylock Letter, 1993 Museum of New Mexico. Fray Angélico Chávez History Library.
referencedIn Gilpin, Laura. Brett, Dorothy (Collection) [Picture]. University of New Mexico-Main Campus
creatorOf Latham, Barbara, 1896-1989. Barbara Latham papers, 1902-1972. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Lisle, Laurie. Laurie Lisle research material on Georgia O'Keeffe and Louise Nevelson, 1903-1989. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Brett, Dorothy, 1883-1977. Dorothy Brett letters to Mark Lutz, Taos, New Mexico, 1957-1965. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Morrell, Ottoline Violet Anne Cavendish-Bentinck, Lady, 1873-1938. Ottoline Morrell Collection, 1882-1946 (bulk 1882-1938). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn D. H. Lawrence Collection TXRC98-A9., 1904-1981, (bulk 1904-1935) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Brett, Dorothy, 1883-1977. Dorothy Brett Collection, 1898-1968. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Luhan, Mabel Dodge, 1879-1962. Mabel Dodge Luhan collection, 1885-1984. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Dorothy Brett Collection TXRC98-A13., 1898-1968 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Lawrence, D. H. (David Herbert), 1885-1930. D.H. Lawrence Collection, 1904-1981 (bulk 1904-1935). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Mabel Dodge Luhan collection, 1885-1984 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Spud Johnson Papers TXRC00-A8., 1896-1973, (bulk 1920-1968) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Luhan, Mabel Dodge, 1879-1962. Mabel Dodge Luhan collection, 1885-1984. Yale University Library
referencedIn James, Rebecca Salsbury, 1891-1968. Rebecca Salsbury James papers, 1924-1967 (bulk 1930-1939). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Dorothy Brett Pictorial Collection, 1880-1970 University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research
referencedIn O'Keeffe, Georgia, 1887-1986. Georgia O'Keeffe letters to Alan Priest, 1950-1961. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Hopson, Rex C. [Dorothy Brett's early life in England and her friendship with D.H. and Frieda Lawrence]. University of New Mexico-Main Campus
referencedIn Laylock, Angie. Angie Laylock letter. Museum of New Mexico Library
creatorOf Dorothy Brett Collection, 1922-1969, 1965-1969 Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections
referencedIn Donaldson Family Letters, 1936-1956 University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research
referencedIn Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946. Alfred Stieglitz / Georgia O'Keeffe archive, 1728-1986 (bulk 1880-1986). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Lawrence, Frieda von Richthofen, 1879-1956. Frieda Lawrence Collection, 1870-1969. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Donaldson family. Letters, 1936-1956. University of New Mexico-Main Campus
referencedIn Paul Showers Papers, 1783-1999, 1870-1990 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Johnson, Walter Willard, 1897-1968. Spud Johnson Papers, 1896-1973 (bulk 1920-1968). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Mansfield, Katherine, 1888-1923. Katherine Mansfield papers, 1903-1942. Newberry Library
creatorOf BRETT, DOROTHY. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
creatorOf Brett, Dorothy, 1883-1977. Dorothy Brett letters to Mark Lutz, Taos, New Mexico, 1957-1965. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Tolbert, Mildred. Mildred Tolbert Photograph Collection [picture]. University of New Mexico-Main Campus
creatorOf Brett, Dorothy, 1883-1977. Correspondence with Carl Zigrosser, 1929-1967. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Cook, Howard Norton, 1901-1980. Correspondence with Carl Zigrosser, 1927-1974, n.d. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Witter Bynner papers, 1829-1965. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Mildred Tolbert Photograph Collection, 1912-1980, 1940-1969 University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research
referencedIn Frieda Lawrence Collection TXRC98-A6., 1870-1969 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Brett, Dorothy. Autograph (7) and typed (1) letters signed : various places, to Herbert J. Seligmann, 1928 Aug.-1965 Mar. 14. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Alfred Stieglitz / Georgia O'Keeffe archive, 1728-1986 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Bynner, Witter, 1881-1968. Witter Bynner correspondence and research archive, 1889-1984 compiled by Evelyn Ortner. Drew University Library, Rose Memorial Library
referencedIn Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946. Alfred Stieglitz / Georgia O'Keeffe archive, 1728-1986. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Ottoline Morrell Collection TXRC98-A17., 1882-1946, (bulk 1882-1938) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Brett, Dorothy, 1883-1977. Papers, 1923-1986. University of New Mexico-Main Campus
creatorOf Showers, Paul. Paul Showers papers, 1783-1999 (bulk 1870-1990). University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Norman, Dorothy, 1905-1997,. Interview conducted by Oliver Daniel, Mar. 31, 1981 [sound recording]. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Auerbach, Ernst. person
associatedWith Brett, Dorothy, 1883-1923. person
associatedWith Brooke, Sylvia Leonora Brett, Lady, rani of Sarawak, 1885- person
associatedWith Bynner, Witter, 1881-1968. person
associatedWith Cook, Howard Norton, 1901-1980. person
associatedWith Crichton, Kyle, 1896-1960. person
associatedWith Davidson, Robert, M.A. person
associatedWith Donaldson family family
associatedWith Donaldson family. family
associatedWith Edward VII, King of Great Britain, 1841-1910. person
associatedWith Esher, Eleanor, Viscountess. person
associatedWith Esher, Oliver Sylvain Baliol Brett, 3rd Viscount, 1881- person
associatedWith Esher, Reginald Baliol Brett, 2nd Viscount, 1852-1930 person
associatedWith Gertler, Mark. person
associatedWith Gertler, Mark. person
associatedWith Gilpin, Laura person
associatedWith Glasco, Joseph, 1925- person
associatedWith Glasco, Joseph, 1925-1996. person
associatedWith Gorman, R. C. (Rudolph Carl), 1932- person
associatedWith Gorman, R. C. (Rudolph Carl), 1932-2005. person
associatedWith Goyen, William. person
associatedWith Goyen, William. person
associatedWith Hignett, Sean. person
associatedWith Hilton, Enid Hopkins, 1895- person
associatedWith Hopson, Rex C. person
associatedWith Hoskins, Dorothy M. person
associatedWith Hoskins, Dorothy M. person
associatedWith Huxley, Aldous, 1894-1963 person
associatedWith James, Rebecca Salsbury, 1891-1968. person
associatedWith Johnson, Walter Willard, 1897-1968 person
associatedWith Latham, Barbara, 1896-1989. person
associatedWith Lawrence, D. H. (David Herbert), 1885-1930 person
associatedWith Lawrence, Frieda, 1879-1956 person
associatedWith Lawrence, Frieda von Richtofen, 1876-1956 person
associatedWith Laylock, Angie person
associatedWith Laylock, Angie. person
associatedWith Levien, Sonya, 1898-1969 person
associatedWith Levien, Sonya, 1898-1969. person
associatedWith Lisle, Laurie. person
associatedWith Luhan, Mabel Dodge, 1879-1962 person
associatedWith Luhan, Mabel Dodge, 1879-1962 corporateBody
associatedWith Lutz, Mark. person
associatedWith Manchester, John, 1917-1988. person
associatedWith Mansfield, Katherine, 1888-1923 person
associatedWith Marin, John, 1870-1953. person
associatedWith Marinoff, Fania. person
associatedWith Marinoff, Fania. person
associatedWith Morrell, Ottoline Violet Anne Cavendish-Bentinck, Lady, 1873-1938 person
associatedWith Murry, John Middleton, 1889-1930 person
associatedWith Murry, John Middleton, 1889-1957. person
associatedWith Nehls, Edward. person
associatedWith Nehls, Edward. person
associatedWith Norman, Dorothy, 1905- person
associatedWith Norman, Dorothy, 1905-1997. person
associatedWith O'Keeffe, Georgia. person
associatedWith O'Keeffe, Georgia. person
associatedWith O'Keeffe, Georgia, 1887-1986 corporateBody
associatedWith Pierpont Morgan Library. Seligmann Collection. corporateBody
associatedWith Porter, Mae Reed. person
associatedWith Rogers, Millicent A. person
associatedWith Rogers, Millicent A. person
associatedWith Rogers, Millicent, d. 1953 person
associatedWith Roloff, Leland H. person
associatedWith Seligmann, Herbert J., person
associatedWith Seligmann, Herbert J., Mrs, person
associatedWith Showers, Paul. person
associatedWith Spender, Stephen, 1909- person
associatedWith Stables Gallery. corporateBody
associatedWith Stables Gallery. corporateBody
associatedWith Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946. person
associatedWith Stokowski, Leopold, 1882-1977 person
associatedWith Strand, Rebecca. person
associatedWith Tolbert, Mildred. person
associatedWith Van Vechten, Carl, 1880-1964 person
associatedWith Waters, Frank, 1902- person
associatedWith Waters, Millicent. person
associatedWith Wilder, Thornton, 1897-1975 person
associatedWith Young, Ella, 1867-1956 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
England
Taos (N.M.)
Taos (N.M.)
England
Taos (N.M.)
Great Britain
New Mexico--Taos
California
New Mexico
Taos (N.M.)
New Mexico--Taos
New Mexico in art
Women artists
Great Britain History Edward VII, 1901-1910
Taos (N.M.)
California
Taos (N.M.)
Subject
Art, American--20th century
Bloomsbury group
Painters, English
Women artists
Authors, American--New Mexico
Arts
Dachshunds
Taos school of art
Artists
New Mexico in art
Art, Modern--20th century--New Mexico
Artists--New Mexico
Occupation
Painters--New Mexico--Taos
Function

Person

Birth 1883-11-10

Death 1977-08-27

Britons

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6hm5dmm

Ark ID: w6hm5dmm

SNAC ID: 7766482