Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pair a talented young artist from Cincinnati (who dreams of becoming a famous painter) with a rancher-cowboy from Wyoming. Now try to imagine when that wife would find time to paint while cooking meals, cleaning up after guests, and helping with the daily chores necessary for running a large ranching business. And there you have Fra Dana: Impressionist of the Rockies, by Valerie Hedquist and Sue Hart.

For decades, Fra Dana was torn between her love for her husband, Edwin, and her love of art and travel. Judy Shaftner, writing for Lively Times, explains it this way:

"She particularly loved Paris and New York, cities she came to know intimately and where she sometimes rented studio spaces...

"Edwin Dana was seemingly supportive of his wife’s travels, and sometimes accompanied her. But in 1907, Dana wrote in her journal, 'I speak no more of my vanished dreams.'

"And in 1911, after 15 years of marriage, she wrote, 'I could fight the world and conquer, but I cannot fight the world and Edwin too; he will always pull against me in the life that I desire. So I shall give up. He has won. I will never bother him anymore with my desires or ambitions. Why struggle?'

"As much as she loved the outdoors and the ranch, the lifestyle was unfulfilling for Dana. She yearned for the company of other artists, literary conversations and the finer things in life."

During this week's program, Valerie Hedquist talks about this talented artist who chose husband over career. Listen to the program on the radio or online.

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