Lauretta Sondag
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Displayed here are some examples of Lauretta Sondag's artwork. During her life, she was best known for her watercolors, which depicted highly detailed and often humorous scenes of modern urban life. Her oils were seldom exhibited, but were more "serious" and explored modernist theories of color and compostion; the influence of Alexander Archipenko, whose Woodstock, NY school she briefly attended, is particularly evident. Shortly before her death in 1930, she wrote to Robert W. Macbeth of the Macbeth Galleries and expressed her ambitions for the oils: "I am considered a light woman and not to be taken seriously. However next year I plan to flaunt my oils to the public gaze so everyone can see how very serious and profound I get in my serious moments, -- that is unless you get a hold of them and bury them in your store room forever."

Girl Walking

Author's collection
Untitled (Girl Walking)
c. 1925 (painted while a student at the Art Institute of Chicago)
oil on canvas
19 5/8 x 23 1/2 in. (49.9 x 59.7 cm)

Red Barns

From the collection of the Seattle Art Museum
(reproduced by permission)
45.115 - Modern and Contemporary Art
Red Barns
Loretta Sondag, American
Early 20th century
oil on canvas
19 5/8 x 23 1/2 in. (49.9 x 59.7 cm)
(N.B.: SAM now owns two Sondag watercolors, "The Jazz Age" and and untitled work. Images are not yet available, but the pieces are viewable by appointment.)

Unknown Portrait

Author's collection
Untitled Portrait
c. 1926-30
oil on canvas
23 1/2 X 19 5/8 in.(59.7 X 49.9 cm)

 Unknown Portrait


Private collection
Untitled Portrait
c. 1926-30
oil on canvas
23 1/2 X 19 5/8 in.(59.7 X 49.9 cm)
Home Sweet Home drawing
Collection of Susan Jamison, Seattle
Home Sweet Home
date n/a
Pencil drawing
Sleeping Dog

Collection of Koko and Adam Dahlquist, Seattle
Sleeping Dog
date n/a
Ink on paper
 Christmas Shopping watercolor

Private collection (courtesy Martin-Zambito Gallery)
Christmas Shopping
c. 1928
Watercolor on paper

Collection of Gary and Christine Grenell, Seattle
Women Walking
c. 1928-1929
Watercolor on paper

Lauretta Sondag self-portrait?
Collection of Gary and Christine Grenell, Seattle
Untitled portrait (possible self-portrait)
c. 1926-30
oil on canvas


Nude
Collection of Gary and Christine Grenell, Seattle
Untitled Nude
date unknown
oil on canvas
Watercolor with bottle
Collection of Gary and Christine Grenell, Seattle
Untitled portrait (possibly Ethel Spears?)
c. 1925-26
Watercolor on paper
Watercolor with Notepad
Collection of Gary and Christine Grenell, Seattle
Untitled portrait
c. 1925-26
Watercolor on paper

The Diary
Collection of Jerry Traunfeld and Stephen Hudson, Seattle
The Diary
date n/a
Watercolor on paper


"Lost" Works
These images were taken from newspapers or gallery exhibition records as noted. If you own one of these paintings and can provide a better image, please contact me!

Whereabouts Unknown
In the Park
c. 1926
Exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago during the June 1926 Art Students League exhibition and the September 1926 AIC student exhbition.
Image published in The Chicago Daily Tribune, September 12, 1926, p. G4

Whereabouts Unknown
Rittenhouse Square West
c. 1929
Exhbited at the Edward Side Galleries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February-March 1930
Image published in The Philadelphia Daily Inquirer March 16, 1930

Sideshow

Whereabouts unknown
The Sideshow
c. 1925
Watercolor on paper
Exhibited in the Art Students League of Chicago Annual Exhibit, Arts Club Gallery of the Art Institute of Chicago, May-July 1925
Image published in The Chicago Daily Tribune, July 5, 1925, pg. D3
 

 
Really
Lost Works


Below are newspaper descriptions of some of Lauretta's paintings that have now completely disappeared into obscurity. If any of these sound like a work in your collection, please send a photo so I can post it here and flaunt it to the public gaze, as Lauretta would have wanted!



"Returning to matters humorous, Lauretta Sondag runs Ethel Spears a close second in the vigorous charm of her amusing antics with pencil and paint. Best is the 'Concert 1902." Will we look as funny twenty years from now? Charming is her 'Monsieur Beaucaire.' . . . . 'Stardust,' again, is a bit from a dream and has a gentle fancy to it." -- Eleanor Jewett, "Art and Artists" The Chicago Daily Tribune, June 21, 1925 pg. E7

***

"If there is one person who can stop before 'The Bath' by Miss Sundag (sic) and refrain from smiling--why put it so mildly?--from chuckling, he or she deserves the medal of gloom. Naturally, 'The Bath' is not a great work. It would compare bu feebly with 'The Bathers' by Bouguereau in a further gallery, but take it for what it is--an epic in boarding-house slang--and the emotion it arouses will be as strong, notwithstanding its difference, as that the Bouguereau canvas awakens. It is a jolly, lazy, conscienceless, irresponsible piece of work, pointing a hundred morals and drawing not one. The gay young robber of other people's bath time is seated in the high tub surrounded by signs warning her not to linger, not to do this and not to do that,and she does every single thing she is told not to do and lolls in the tepid Nirvana with a smile on her lips and scorn for warning writers in her heart.

"The second cleverest sketch by Miss Sundag (sic) is her parody on a first view of an exhibition of pictures. She calls it 'Opening Day' and you find everybody present, the bored critic, the effusive critic, the trembling artist and the supercillious purchaser of whaterver carries a tag." -- Eleanor Jewett, "Art and Artists" The Chicago Daily Tribune, June 20, 1926, pg. E4

***

"Water colors, or rather pen sketches with polychrome wash, by Lauretta Sondag are amusing glimpses or Manahattan, one showing the artist being evicted from Central Park for sketching without a permit. 'Fourteenth Street' is a delightful commentary on that unique thoroughfare, abounding in curious details, real and imaginary."-- "Further Comment on Exhibitions," The New York Times, November 11, 1928, pg. 147

***

"A memorial exhibition of the work of Lauretta Sondag is also in progress . . . beautifully funny water color patterns of everyday life. A sign that makes part of the pattern of one of the pictures reads: 'How to Improve Your Form,' by Thomas Hart Benton.'" -- Ruth Green Harris, "Seen in the Galleries," The New York Times, November 16, 1930

***

"'Village Street' is another striking piece - gray buildings and street, green grass and trees and red roofs and chimneys. The lines in the foreground lead directly into the picture, which is all arranged on simple, flat planes.

A gnarled, twisted old tree is the center of interest in 'Barn and Tree,' which finds much favor among visitors in the galleries. The tree is formalized into a very decorative pattern, but to me there is something too brittle and hard about the painting.

The only landscape with a figure is 'Farm Scene,' in which an old woman in a blue dress is seen in the foreground, with farm implements, a stack of hay and brown barns arranged in excellent composition and particularly good color values. There is charm and appeal about 'The White House,' but  the arrangement is not as good as in most of Miss Sondag's work, the picture inclining to be overbalanced. There is the side of a white house, with horizontal stripes of the boards and a porch with a chair and flowers in a pot.

There is a rather somber quality about most of Miss Sondag's painting, but in 'Sunflowers' she breaks away from this feeling and gives us something quite gay. There are houses with spires and a weather vane in the background and a cluster of giant sunflowers in the foreground. The color is rich and vibrant, the pattern exceptionally decorative.

Another landscape, a village seen through the smooth trunks of trees, is almost too symmetrical and studied in composition to be interesting.

There are three portraits in the show, of which I like the one of the girl with beads around her neck the best. It is both decorative and solidly convincing. There is a little too much of the picturesque about the old woman with the lace shawl over her head,  and the third,  a young girl resting her face on her hand, is pleasing, but running more to the strictly decorative, without the solidity of the first portrait I mentioned." --  Macaulay, "The Art Museum," The Seattle Times, August 20, 1933