Written by: Emily Sabens, Public Relations Intern

“Behind a Lonely Cloud” is a hidden gem in our collection. Displayed in the John J. and Angeline Pruis Gallery, this painting by Irene Rice Pereira is bold, bright and colorful.

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Irene Rice Pereira. Behind a Lonely Cloud, about 1950–1960. Oil on canvas. David Owsley Museum of Art. Gift of N. Joseph Leigh. 1959.010.000

Pereira, born in Boston in 1902, played an important role in developing modern art in the U.S. She took her first art class at age 24 at the Washington Irving High School in Manhattan. A year later, Pereira began courses with Jan Matulka; she began introducing her to the works of modern artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, whose works are also represented in DOMA’s works on paper collection. After concluding her studies, she traveled throughout Europe and many African countries, drawing inspiration from the scenery and cultures she experienced.



Photo provided by The Windswept on Facebook

Most notably, Pereira was a founder and a teacher at the Design Laboratory––a school of industrial design that encouraged artists to explore chemistry and physics. Pereira, along with the other faculty, believed experimenting with physical properties in laboratories would help shape students into better artists.


Pereira grew to be a prominent artist in the New York City art scene. Her works were unique and innovative; she often created “machine” paintings, incorporating images of items such as hinges, levers and gears.

“Behind a Lonely Cloud,” created by Pereira somewhere between 1950 and 1960, is a perfect example of her bold style. Like she often did with her artworks, Pereira experimented with various means of paint application, including scraping, splattering and carving. These techniques produce depth and create an illusion of transparency across the canvas.

Visit DOMA today to see “Behind a Lonely Cloud,” located upstairs in the John J. and Angeline Pruis Gallery.


“Behind a Lonely Cloud” was one of the paintings chosen for last year’s Art in Bloom event.