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Dorothy Varian papers, circa 1902-1984

Varian, Dorothy, 1895-1985

Painter, Designer

Collection Information

Size: 2.3 Linear feet

Summary: The papers of painter Dorothy Varian date from circa 1902 to 1984 and measure 2.3 linear feet. This collection documents Varian's life primarily through scattered biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, artists and art galleries; personal business records; a few writings; exhibition catalogs, news clippings, and other printed material; photographs of Varian, her friends, and artwork; and original sketches by Varian and fellow artist Peggy Bacon.

Biographical/Historical Note

Dorothy Varian (1895-1985) was a painter in New York City, and Woodstock, NY. Varian was born in New York City on April 26, 1895; daughter of Eugene W. and Helen Estelle Varian. She dropped out of high school at 15 and entered Cooper Union where she graduated with honors. After Cooper Union she attended the Art Students League. While a student she inadvertently won first and second prize in a local art contest sponsored by movie producer, William Fox. She used the prize money to rent her first studio in Woodstock.


The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art in installments by Dorothy Varian in 1972, 1978, and 1981. An additonal installment was donated in 1986 by the Dorothy Varian estate, via Robert Plate.

Related Materials

Language Note

The collection is in English and French.