Bringing the Art to You


Untitled (Oyster Shells and Cannery), 1940, charcoal on paper, 14" x 17”,


Untitled (Oyster Shells and Cannery), 1940, charcoal on paper, 17” x 14"


Week #35/36

Untitled (Pile of Oyster Shells and Luggers), 1944, watercolor and ink on paper, 13 3/4" x 16 3/4”.

This week we revisit one of the most unique landscape elements one could find in Biloxi back in the early 20th century, the enormous piles of oyster shells. Earlier, around the 1870s, barrels of oyster shells were returned to the water in the Back Bay to preserve existing oyster beds. Soon after, they would also be used to pave the roads and streets in town. 

But by 1903, the year Dusti Bongé was born, Biloxi had become known as the seafood capital of the world. During those years the city seafood industry produced about 6,000,000 pounds of oysters a year. While cannery workers were paid by the hour, the oyster shuckers were paid by the pound. The amount of oysters that were being shucked on a daily basis was so tremendous that the shells would all be thrown on heaps along the waterfront or near the canneries, heaps which would literally grow into mounds high enough to climb.  

Dusti, always inspired in one way or another by her distinctive hometown surroundings, rendered the oyster mounds much like she did the canneries, shrimp boats and fishing camps. Always abstracted, unadorned, thereby capturing a true sense of the place rather than a picture perfect image. And, like her other favorite city scenes, she drew and painted the oyster mounds more than once, in several charcoal sketches and watercolor paintings. 

These days the oyster mounds are long gone, but remnants of crushed oyster shells are everywhere underfoot.

Have you seen this work?

Do you or someone you know have this work in their collection? If so, we would love to hear from you.

We are continually working to maintain as complete a record as possible, and to determine the location of all of Dusti Bongé's work. If you have information on this, or other works, you can contact us at [email protected]

We appreciate receiving any referrals to the existence and whereabouts of artworks by Dusti Bongé. Thank you.


You can now view some of these works on our website:

Available in our store:



The definitive volume on artist Dusti Bongé, by J. Richard Gruber

Dusti Bongé, Art and Life: Biloxi, New Orleans, New York

Hard bound, 12” x 9”, 350 pages, over 500 color and b&w illustrations

Limited edition lithographs of two original

Dusti Bongé drawings. 

Shrimp Boats & Factories, Back Bay Biloxi I


Shrimp Boats & Factories, Back Bay Biloxi II

​12” x 16” drawing,  15” x 22” paper size

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Our mission: to promote the artistic legacy of Dusti Bongé (1903-1993)