Arizona Garden

Arizona Garden

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Pastel on paper, signed and dated 1965 lower right, 30 × 24

Polly Adelaide Weldon McDonell Vaughn, 1911-2000

Polly McDonell, born Pauline Adelaide Weldon, was an abstract expressionist painter born on September 26, 1911 in Oakes, North Dakota, and was brought with her twin sister Catherine by her parents Henry Taylor and Gay Ulena Bailey Weldon to Phoenix, Arizona in 1913. She attended Phoenix Union High School where she won national awards for her work on on the design of her high school yearbook. She graduated from the Chouinard Art Institute and studied as a fine arts student at UC Berkeley before moving to New York and studying under America's foremost abstract expressionist Hans Hofmann. She then moved to Paris where she studied under French Cubist artist Andre Lhote. She moved to Brazil in the 1930's where she exhibited at the first Sao Paulo Art Bienial in 1951. She painted mostly in oils, but we have also seen pencil landscapes by her as well, and well as many hundreds of her pastels portraits. She also did many religiously themed paintings. She returned to Arizona in the 1960s and exhibited her work at the University Club when it first opened it's renovated doors in the fall of 1966, as well as winning a best-in-show award at an Interfaith Art Festival for a painting of an angel. The level of her talent is on par with fellow Lhote student, the Hungarian French Arpad Szenes, of whom she studied with when Arpad and his wife were exiled to Rio de Janeiro Brazil in the 1940s. 

We are currently looking for any paintings by her, which may also be signed P. Vaughn, Polly Weldon, or P McD.  We are currently researching and working on a biography of her life as an artist, and would appreciate any information anyone has regarding her, her family, and her work as an artist.