Variations of the Cross

Clara Bella Dunham (1901 - 1967)
Circa: 1940-1950
Size: 8”(w) x 10 1/2” (h) (each)
A collection of over one hundred variations of the cross painted by Clara Bella Dunham (1901 - 1967).

Though the cross is now primarily associated with Christianity, it is an ancient symbol used by past cultures throughout time and the world over. 84 shown here - there are about 125 total. Displayed together they make a powerful installation.

Clara Bella (née Wilson) Dunham married George Dunham in 1924 in Waterloo, Iowa. Both were graduates of Cornell University. Mr. Dunham began as a contractor for Currie Construction, and worked his way up to Superintendent of a Cement Processing Plant. The couple relocated to Glendale, CA in 1945, where George continued to work as a superior in the cement business. Once in L.A., Clara Belle was very active in well-to-do women’s society clubs, including the Women’s Auxiliary to Goodwill Industries (she presented a lecture called “Crosses” at their San Fernando Road chapel as part of a Goodwill Industries event — the famed Hollywood opera singer Miss Mary Costa sang at this event. I am grateful to Emma Kemp, California Institute of the Arts, for her interest and research in this field for compiling the above information.

Iconographically there are four basic variations:
1) Crux quadrata (a cross of four equal arms);
2) Crux immissa (with a long stem ratio);
3) Crux commissa (based on the Greek letter tau or “T”); and
4) Crux decussata (based on the Roman decussis or 10, “X”).

The collection is assembled in a binder with each page in an archival sleeve.


Condition: Each very good to excellent with expected wear from age and use.

Price: $8,500.00