Marjorie Jay Daingerfield (1900-1977)

Apassionata  (1977.4.2)

Apassionata (1977.4.2)

In 1984, HMA celebrated its 40th Anniversary with the exhibition 40 Works in 40 Years, and Marjorie Daingerfield’s sculpture Appassionata was one of the works chosen to showcase the best of what was then in the museum’s collection.

Marjorie Jay Daingerfield was encouraged by her father the painter Elliott Daingerfield to pursue her evident talent for sculpture. After graduating from high school in New York City, she studied at the School of American Sculpture as well as with several major sculptors including Anna Hyatt Huntington. During her lifetime, Daingerfield was a well-known sculptor with many successes creating portrait busts, heads, and small figures; and she had many commissions from society leaders, businessmen, educators, and actors. Among other distinctions, she was chosen in a competition to create the 1953 Girl Scouts Award Statue that was used by all American girl scout troops; and she received a Silver Medal at Pen + Brush in 1963 for Apassionata.

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As well as a sculptor, Daingerfield was an excellent teacher and gifted lecturer. She taught at the School of American Sculpture and the Grand Central School of Art in NYC, and lectured at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, at Duke University, and the North Carolina Art Association. In addition, she contributed articles to journals, made appearances on television and in radio, and wrote the book Fun and Fundamentals of Sculpture (Scribner, 1963).

Born in New York City as the older of Elliott’s two daughters, Daingerfield divided her time between New York and Blowing Rock, North Carolina, where her father had built a summer home and studio in the Appalachian Mountains. Married and widowed three times, Daingerfield chose to be buried next to her second husband, fellow artist James Louis Lundean (1896-1961), in Cross Creek Cemetery in Fayetteville NC where her parents and her father’s parents are also buried.

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In a newspaper interview in 1977, Marjorie’s sister Gwendoline Dulaney Plyler said of Marjorie that “she wanted to be a sculptor since kindergarten when she first worked with colored clay. Daddy was so proud of everything she did.” Gwendoline described her sister as having a “personality you felt when you came in the room. She could hold people enthralled with her stories. She had a wonderful sense of humor.” Gwendoline also mentioned a painting by her father called Autumn that is in fact a portrait of the two sisters with their mother.

Information in this post is from files at HMA.

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This post is # 16 of the 75 stories to celebrate HMA's 75 years.

Post by Karin Borei, HMA Project Coordinator, writer and editor as needed, and HMA blogger since our blog's inception in March 2015.