Bringing the Art to You


Week #31

Plate Design (Leaves and Radishes), c. 1939, pastel and pencil on paper, 8 1/2” x 11"

In the late 1930s Dusti Bongé sketched anything and everything, continually working on refining her drawing skills. During this time, in addition to her many representations of the bustling seafood industry and other cityscapes, she also produced still life studies of object in her house. And she created a unique series of "Plate Designs" inspired by artist workshops at Shearwater Pottery where they held weekly sessions to come up with interesting configurations to be used on their pottery. 

In Dusti’s case, some of those designs were of seabirds, crabs, boats, and various flora and fauna of the coast. These plate designs were often, by necessity, rather stylized given the challenge of depicting their subject matter in a circular or concentric arrangement. But she also did a series of much more modest plate designs that were literally of food items on a plate, such as these radishes. These drawings are neither typical still lifes, nor the stylized pottery designs with their very intentional compositions. Instead, they exemplify a sense of looseness, and show that no subject matter was too insignificant for Dusti.

Each one of these plate designs offer a simple arrangement of lettuce leaves rimming a plate with another food item loosely placed at the center. The lettuce leaves always form a partial edge and never go full circle around the plate, thereby breaking up the relentlessness of the circle. There is always only one main food at the center, never a mix of foods. The various versions include this plate of radishes, plates of green beans, sliced cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, celery sticks, pickles and a plate of sardines and one of sliced hard boiled eggs (for some protein). Considering the range of veggies and other items it’s odd that there is not a composition that combines them. They certainly seem like items that would wind up in a salad together.

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)