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collections > permanent collection > paintings >CAROL WALD
Carol Wald
(American, 1935-2000)
Cecilia's Dream, 1997
Oil on canvas, 46" x 72"
Gift of the artist (2000.172)


Carol Wald’s surreal compositions are filled with art historical quotations ranging from Edouard Manet to Edward Hopper.  Set in another time, juxtaposing mysterious narratives with deliberate invocations of well-known works of art, paintings such as Cecilia’s Dream seem to combine lived reality, memory, and the Unconscious.  Dogs are a frequent motif in the artist’s work, as are girls and young women, suggesting a kind of ongoing exploration of personal symbols.  In Cecilia’s Dream, the figure of the woman arranging her companion’s hair is a direct quotation of John White Alexander’s Isabella and the Pot of Basil, painted in 1897 and now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Simultaneously recalling the original tragic poem by John Keats, this quotation adds additional layers of personal meaning to an already complex work.


Wald, born and raised in Detroit, studied art in Michigan and Maine before moving to New York City to take up a career as a successful illustrator.  She remained there for fifteen years before returning to Detroit, where she married an old high-school friend, filmmaker Herman Tauchert.  The couple later moved to Burlington, Ontario, where the artist established a studio and painted some of her most notable canvases before her premature death of cancer in 2000.