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"Dancer on a Pedestal" Oil Painting by Mary Spain



Wonderful painting by Mary Spain (1934-1983) entitled "Dancer on a Pedestal" painted sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s. A painter who had her own unique vision of things, this painting features strange people and creatures. Biography sourced on line from CAN journal: Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, Mary Spain studied art at Syracuse University and moved to Ohio in the 1960s to teach art at Chagrin Falls High School. She was a frequent exhibitor in the May Show at the Cleveland Museum of Art during the 1970s and early 1980s where she won several Juror’s mentions for her paintings. Characteristic of her work is a flattened frontal gaze or a total profile view of her figures that recall Renaissance portraiture. Additionally, most of her characters are seen wearing odd or unusual hats. Spain believed that these hats identify the figures much like they do for professions such as chefs, clergy, or law enforcement. The hats also act to contain the characters. While her figures often appear cute or innocent, Spain felt they were filled with mischief. Without their hats, she imagined that they might just explode. Spain’s interest in antique dolls and toys lends insight into the construction of her figures. Many figures have marionette like qualities with blocky, out of proportion limbs, suggesting that perhaps they are not entirely in control of their actions. During her struggle with cancer, Spain used these figures to express her feelings of pain and sadness. While her deeply personal vocabulary and symbolism might be lost to the viewer, the narratives and embedded emotional substance remain.


  • Creator
    Mary Spain (Artist)
  • Dimensions
    Height: 43 in. (109.22 cm)Width: 49.25 in. (125.1 cm)Depth: 1.5 in. (3.81 cm)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. In fine condition this painting remained in the same private collection until my purchase. They hung on the wall undisturbed and is in original condition.
  • Seller Location
    Palm Desert, CA
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU797713409711

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    US$499Standard Front Door Shipping
    to United States 0,arrives in 3-6 weeks.
    We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: Palm Desert, CA
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 7 days of delivery.

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About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in Palm Desert, CA
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