Bringing the Art to You


Week #33

National Surety Corporation Diary 1938 - April 8, 1938, graphite pencil on printed paper, 5 1/2” x 8"

Today we have a sketch from one of Dusti Bongé’s earliest sketchbooks. In those early days, Dusti would sometimes avail herself of any source of blank paper available, such as complimentary insurance comapny diaries or yearbooks, which she used as sketchbooks. In these yearbooks Saturday and Sunday would share a page, thus interupting the blank space halfway down the page. Dusti tended to skip sketching on those pages. Hence, in this diary she started on the January 3rd page, sketching on most pages up until the pages in late April. She never filled the remainder of this particular diary, hopefuly because she found some better paper. 

Herewith a funny and slightly messy scene of what was to become a favorite subject matter to Dusti for quite a few years: the circus. In this pencil sketch you can see all the elements of the circus that she tries to capture simultaneously. This scene is probably one of the Big Top with its center ring. There is a horse, mscelaneous steps, small platforms, what might be trapeze ladders, bleachers, tent poles, billowing fabric and so on. These are several other sketches with circus animals. 

This is not an organized tableau, but rather the active scene of the pre-show set up. Dusti Bongé always said that was her preferred time at the circus. All the activity, the menagerie of animals, the unique characters, not yet performing but being themselves, and all the colorful props  and fabrics would become rich material for her unique surrealist series of works known as the Circus Series. 

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)