1 February 2010 Archived
Edith Dodo 1923 – 2009
Edith Dodo, née Azgour, was born in Cairo where her father was a perfumier. They relocated to Paris where Edith went to school and was introduced to a world of art, design and fashion that was to leave a lasting impression on her. When Edith was fifteen the family immigrated to South Africa and settled in Johannesburg where she completed her schooling before going on to the Johannesburg Art School.
Her mother, Rachel Azgour, had opened a dress shop in Eloff Street, called Louise et Janine, where Edith helped out from time to time. Her daughter, Jackie, recounts how Maud Sumner came in one day, looking for a dress and the young Edith announced “I have just the dress for you!” Impressed by her sartorial savvy, the artist and Edith formed a close bond and soon Edith was enjoying painting lessons with Sumner. The many superb Sumners in the collection confirm this enduring friendship as does her portrait of Edith as Joan of Arc, associating Edith with the French heroine in terms of their visionary leadership and courage.
After meeting and marrying Monte Dodo the couple relocated to Pietermaritzburg where the Dodo family operated a shoe business that was to develop into the nation-wide Dodo Shoe Stores and Dodo Fashion Boutiques.
Edith and Monte Dodo travelled throughout Europe, often spending extended periods in Paris where Edith frequented museums and galleries and familiarised herself with the top artists of the day. Her international collection confirms her innovative and courageous choices based on sound judgment and an eye for design, style and colour. Highlights include Figure on Purple painted by British artist, Ivon Hitchens in 1965, an abstract painting by French Tachiste Alfred Manessier and Picasso’s etching Rêve de Marin: des Femmes dans Chaque Port from his famous 347 Suite published in 1969. Polish-born, School of Paris artist Henri Hayden’s Les Champs painted in 1962 displays the lyrical composition and bejewelled colours that have assured him a place in major collections such as the Tate Gallery. Also included are prints by leading international artists Georges Braque, Joan Miró, Fernand Léger, Alberto Giacometti and Marc Chagall, the European Lyrical Abstractionists such as Roger Bissière, Pierre Soulages, Hans Hartung, Serge Poliakoff and Zao Wou-Ki as well as a Portrait of Monsieur Duchamp by Jacques Villon, brother of Marcel Duchamp.
Edith Dodo involved herself actively in the local art scene with regular attendances at exhibition openings and events. She engaged with artists such as Walter Battiss and added their works to her substantial and growing collection. The numerous delightful Sumners are complemented by an unusual Blue Nude by Alexis Preller and many attractive still life and landscape paintings by Terence McCaw and Gordon Vorster amongst others.