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Ross and Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett papers, circa 1870-1992

Biographical Note

Ross Moffett (1888-1971) was an important figure in the development of modernism in American Art after World War I. His paintings primarily depict the life and landscapes of the Provincetown, Massachusetts area. Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett is perhaps best known as a printmaker and illustrator of children's books and magazines.
Born in Iowa in 1888, Moffett trained at the Art Institute in Chicago and studied with Charles Hawthorne during the summer of 1913, in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Moffett then studied at the Art Students League and returned to Provincetown in 1915, to establish himself as an artist. He was one of the founders of the Provincetown Art Association and a leading figure in the art colony for many years. In 1920, Moffett married artist Dorothy Lake Gregory in Brooklyn, New York. Dorothy studied at the Pratt Institute and with Robert Henri and George Bellows in New York, and then went to Provincetown to study with Hawthorne as well.
During the 1920's and 1930's, Ross Moffett's success increased steadily and he had his first one-man show at the Frank Rehn Gallery in New York and also at The Art Institute of Chicago in 1928. He served on several exhibition juries around the country during this time. Between 1936 and 1938, Moffett painted four murals in two Massachusetts post offices for the Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA). Moffett received full membership to the National Academy of Design in 1942.
While Moffett's painting slowed somewhat during World War II he continued his involvement in the arts by maintaining the Provincetown Art Association. He taught briefly at the University of Miami in Ohio from 1932 to 1933, and returned to Provincetown to pursue painting full-time. In the 1950's, Moffett became interested in archaeology and even delivered a few lectures on the subject. During this time he continued to paint and his art reflected his preoccupation with the science of archaeology. In 1954, Moffett was one of two artists selected by the National Academy of Design to paint murals depicting President Dwight D. Eisenhower's life for the Eisenhower Memorial Museum in Abilene, Kansas. Moffett was chosen to portray Eisenhower's civilian life.
In 1960, Moffett became active in the movement to establish the 1400 acres known as the Province Lands as part of the Cape Cod National Seashore Park. After the park was established Moffett wrote and published a history of the first thirty-three years of the Provincetown Art Association in a book titled Art in Narrow Streets, 1964. He continued to serve as a juror for the Provincetown Art Association and was artist-in-residence for the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center in 1970.
Dorothy Moffett also pursued a successful career in art, and publishers such as Rand McNally used her illustrations for youth magazines and childrens books, such as the classic Green Fairy Book. Her work was exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum, the National Academy, and the Brooklyn Museum, and her Alice in Wonderland series of lithographs was purchased for the permanent collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Though best known as a printmaker, Moffett also worked in oil.
Ross Moffett died of cancer on March 13, 1971.