By appointment only
For more than fifty years, Dorothy Sturm played a vital role in the development and advancement of contemporary art and ideas in Memphis. Her role as an artist and teacher, as well as her formidable personal presence, became integral to the life and spirit of the period.
Dorothy came back to Memphis following years of study in New York at the Grand Central School of Art, the Art Students League and Columbia University.She left New York with some reluctance, fully aware of the restricted environment for contemporary art and ideas which then existed in the Mid-South. She was also painfully aware of the traditional role she, as a Southern woman, was expected to fulfill.
At the Memphis Academy of Art, where she taught from 1938 to 1975, Dorothy became a respected and influential member of the faculty. She challenged her students, as well as her colleagues, in the same way she challenged herself. The old ways, the old ideas, the old techniques never seemed to be enough for Dorothy.
-Exerpt from Forward by J. Richard Gruber for Cobalt: The Art of Dorothy Sturm, Cobalt Publishing. ISBN 0-916242-58-7
The influences she absorbed included not only her courses at the Grand Central School of Art and the more famous Art Students League but William Blake and other English watercolour artists, finely printed and illustrated books, and that fateful glimpse through a microscope that led
her to her program in medical publication at Columbia University and eventual fame as one of the foremost medical illustrators in America.
Though the changing aspects of Dorothy's devotion to different media and styles may seems mercurial, the thread linking her diverse work is a commitment to excellent composition, vivid coloration and the attempt to elicit (or wrest if need be) the utmost creative qualities for the medium. As with more renowned artists from her generation who studied at the Art Students League, Dorothy moved from representation to abstraction and back again. Perhaps it is more realistic to say that she never gave up either representation or abstraction, being capable of producing her dynamic yet jewel like enamel abstract pieces and her exquisite watercolours based on autobiographical and folk lore themes virtually at the same time.
-Exerpt from Introduction by Fredric Koeppel for Cobalt: The Art of Dorothy Sturm, Cobalt Publishing. ISBN 0-916242-58-7