Dahlov Ipcar

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Dahlov Ipcar (née Zorach) (born November 12, 1917) is an American painter, illustrator and author. She is best known for her colorful, kaleidoscopic-styled paintings featuring animals – primarily in either farm or wild settings. She currently resides in Georgetown, Maine.


Dahlov Ipcar was born November 12, 1917, in Windsor, Vermont, the younger of two children, to parents William and Marguerite Zorach. She was raised in Greenwich Village, New York City, attended City and Country School, Caroline Pratt's progressive school, and grew up surrounded by bohemian influences.[1] Encouraged by her parents, she started painting at a very young age. She briefly attended Oberlin, dropping out after only one semester, frustrated with the academic restrictions on her artistic expression.

In 1936, at the age of 19, Dahlov married Adolph Ipcar, a young man hired to tutor her in math for her college tests.[2] They spent that year in New York City, Adolph working as a math tutor while Dahlov taught art two days a week. The following winter, they decided to move into the extra farm house on her parents' property in Georgetown, Maine, and started a farm of their own.[3] They became modern-day subsistence farmers: growing their own food, raising animals and their two sons, as well as selling eggs and milk on the side for extra money. Dahlov continued painting throughout her life as both a source of pleasure and income. In addition to painting, she has written four fantasy novels, written and/or illustrated numerous children's books, and crafted three-dimensional cloth sculptures.[1] Her marriage lasted until 2003, when Adolph died at the age of 98 after a brief illness.

Dahlov continues to paint on a daily basis. She also actively attends her gallery openings and book signings.


In 1939 at the age of 21, she had her first solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, called Creative Growth, the first of many solo shows over the next forty years.[4]

In the 1940s and '50s, 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.[3]

In 1945, she illustrated The Little Fisherman, her first children's book, a story written by noted children's author Margaret Wise Brown. The book is still in print. 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 wild colors and cheerful, her writings for adults turn to a darker, almost grim intertwining of reality and fantasy. Many of her children's books are being reprinted for a whole new generation to enjoy.[3]

By the '60s and '70s, her work began to take on a new direction. Intricate patterns and geometric designs have become her artistic signature. She has remained outside current art movements to this very day.[3]

In addition to easel paintings, illustrations, and soft sculptures, Dahlov has also completed ten large-scale mural projects for public buildings, two of them for U.S. Post Offices in La Follette, Tennessee, and Yukon, Oklahoma. The remaining 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, can be seen in the atrium of the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children in Springfield, Massachusetts.[3]

Collected Works
Dahlov's works are now in the permanent collections of museums such as the Metropolitan, Whitney, and Brooklyn in New York. She is also represented in the leading art museums of Maine, as well as in many corporate and private collections throughout the country.[3]

Honorary Degrees
Dahlov has received honorary degrees from the University of Maine, Colby College and Bates College. In April 1998, The University of Minnesota honored Dahlov with The Kerlan Award for Children's literature.[5]


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