Dahlov Ipcar collection, 1966–2000
Collection Scope and Content
This collection includes drafts and publication material relating to Ipcar’s 1990 collection of fantasy short stories, The Nightmare and Her Foal. Also in the collection are articles and essays by and about the author (including a draft of her autobiography for the Gale Dictionary of Literary Biography), art exhibit catalogs, and note cards designed and signed by Ipcar. There are also several original works of art by Ipcar.
Dahlov Ipcar was born November 12, 1917, in Windsor, Vermont, the younger of two children, to parents William and Marguerite Zorach. She was raised in Greenwich Village, New York City; attended the City and Country School, Caroline Pratt’s famous progressive school; and grew up surrounded by bohemian influences. Encouraged by her parents, she started painting at a very young age. She briefly attended Oberlin, dropping out after only one semester, frustrated with the academic restrictions on her artistic expression. In 1936, at the age of 19, Dahlov married Adolph Ipcar, a young man hired to tutor her in math for her college tests. They spent that year in New York City, with Adolph working as a math tutor while Dahlov taught art two days a week. The following winter, they decided to move into the extra farm house on her parents’ property in Georgetown, Maine, and started a farm of their own. They became modern-day subsistence farmers: growing their own food, raising animals and their two sons, and selling eggs and milk on the side for extra money.
In 1939 at the age of 21, Ipcar had her first solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern, the first of many solo shows over the next forty years. In the 1940s and 1950s, Ipcar’s art was influenced by the prevailing style of Social Realism, as best illustrated by her paintings of farm workers accompanied by their heavy draft horses and domestic farm animals. In 1945, she illustrated The Little Fisherman, her first children’s book, a story written by noted children’s author Margaret Wise Brown. Ipcar later wrote and illustrated thirty children’s books of her own. She also wrote four fantasy novels for a slightly older audience, as well as a volume of short stories for adults.
By the 1960s and 1970s, her work began to take on a new direction. Intricate patterns and geometric designs became her artistic signature. In 1972, Dahlov and her husband together received the Maine Governor’s Award for “significant contributions to Maine in the broad field of the arts and humanities.” She has also received three honorary degrees from The University of Maine, Colby, and Bates colleges. In April of 1998, The University of Minnesota honored Dahlov with The Kerlan Award for Children’s literature. In 2012, The Farnsworth Museum gave Ipcar the Maine In America Award, an honor given to an individual or group who has made an outstanding contribution to Maine and its role in American Art. Ipcar painted nearly every day, including the day she died. Ipcar died on February 10, 2017, at the age of 99.