In 1923, British writer D.H. Lawrence threw a dinner party in London that he called “The Last Supper.” He had visited art patron Mabel Dodge Luhan in Taos earlier in the year, and was determined to convince all of his friends to move with him to New Mexico. Artist Dorothy Brett (1883-1977) was the only one who acquiesced, and journeyed there with Lawrence and his wife Frieda in 1924.
Brett was born to an aristocratic family, and took dancing classes with Princess Beatrice’s children under the supervision of Queen Victoria. She studied at London’s Slade School of Art from 1910 to 1916, and fell in with a circle of prominent artists and writers including Lawrence, Virginia Woolf and George Bernard Shaw. When Lawrence proposed the Taos adventure, Brett recalled a childhood visit to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and decided to take the leap.
In Taos, Brett forged a close friendship with Frieda Lawrence and Mabel Dodge Luhan, and they became known as the “Three Fates.” Brett painted well-received genre scenes of Pueblo Indians for a number of years, but caught the eye of prominent collectors and museums when she started exploring more mystical themes. The glowing, enigmatic Moon Ray is a stunning example of her mature work. Brett lived in Taos for the rest of her life and became a United States citizen in 1938. She often struggled with poverty later in life, but remained a beloved local personality in Taos.
See artwork by Brett in our collection.