Dorothea Litzinger

1889 – 1925

by Beth Haber

An artist best known for her paintings of flowers, Dorothea Litzinger also painted landscapes, decorative screens, and panels. It is not apparent that her work reflected any connection with her Jewish background: Her choice of subject matter was completely in concert with acceptable norms for upper-class women who painted. In her art and social milieu, Litzinger appears to have lived a highly assimilated life. In the artist’s file at the New York Public Library there is an invitation, dated March 1923, from Messrs. Kennedy and Company at 693 Fifth Avenue to a “special Easter Exhibition of decorative flower and landscape paintings by Dorothea Litzinger.” She was also involved in civic and community issues, and served as chair of the executive committee of the Beekman Hill Association. In that capacity, she was credited with organizing neighborhood children in a campaign for “sanitary streets.”

Born in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, on January 20, 1889, Dorothea Litzinger studied art at the Margaret Morrison Carnegie School of Pittsburgh and at the Pratt Institute in New York. From 1908 to 1910, she attended the National Academy of Design. She was married to an attorney, John W. Thompson, although she was known solely as Dorothea Litzinger in all reference material, including her obituary in the New York Times.

Litzinger served as director of the Art Alliance and belonged to the Allied Artists of America, an organization established in 1914 as an exhibition cooperative that elected its own juries. As a member of the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, Litzinger participated in the annual exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum. She also belonged to the New Haven Paint and Clay Club. In 1924, Litzinger held a solo exhibit of her work at the Ralston Gallery in New York City.

In an article in Art News, “The Career of Dorothea Litzinger” (1925), Litzinger is described as “radiant, young and full of energy, never afraid of hard work.” Her paintings of flowers are referred to as “an expression of herself in the generosity of their color and richness of design.” Dorothea Litzinger was “an artist of intelligence and promise, always striving for something better, and could she have lived, would no doubt have attained great heights in her decorative painting.”

After a brief bout with pneumonia, Dorothea Litzinger died at her home on January 5, 1925.


AJYB 24:175; Art News 23 (November 15, 1924): 6; Litzinger, Dorothea. Clippings. Artist file, New York Public Library; Collins, J.L. Women Artists in America; Judson, Alice. “The Career of Dorothea Litzinger.” Art News (June 1925); Pettey, Chris. Dictionary of Women Artists; NYTimes, March 2, 1924, 8:10; Obituary. NYTimes, January 6, 1925, 25:4; Who Was Who in American Art.

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Dorothea Litzinger is my Great Aunt from my maternal Grandmother Ann Ethel (Litzinger) Graft. Her husband John W. Thompson sent me 6 of her paintings after I corresponded with him when I was a teenager. Mr. Thompson also sent me a large collection of articles, pictures, and other documents he had kept concerning Dorothea. There is an article among these concerning her death from food poisoning after the food was contaminated when flooding of the cooking area occurred.

Mr. Thompson continued to send Christmas cards he had drawn to our family even though Dorothea and my grandmother had been deceased for many years. Besides the other pictures I have is one large self-portrait Dorothea painted right before her death. Sadly this painting is in very bad shape and we have not been able to have it restored.

Oddly enough there was never any mention of the family being Jewish. Chest Springs PA is where the family home was located and is still lived in. The Litzinger house was sold in 1959 when our family moved to the west. The last portion of the land was sold recently and is the parking lot for St. Monica's Church located across the street in Chest Springs.

In reply to by Jo Ann Dunlap

I purchased a painting on line by Dorthea Litzinger. It is blue delphiniums painted on an oval piece of wood. I have never been able to get it appraised because my few tries failed. The art dealer had never heard of her. I actually bought the painting because my mother's maiden name was Marion Litzinger and one of her sisters was named Dorothy who had a twin sister named Lillian. I was hoping you might know were I could get this painting authenticated. It is not big, about 12" x 8". I would be so appreciative if you could answer me even if you can't help. Thanks, Marion M

Flowers in Front of Window, by Dorothea Litzinger, oil on canvas.


How to cite this page

Haber, Beth. "Dorothea Litzinger." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 27 February 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on May 13, 2021) <>.


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