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David Mudgett paintings

Updated: May 19

Since June 2022 we've had almost 30 paintings by my maternal grandfather, David Mudgett, have been on display at NTID's Dyer Arts Center (at RIT). I was hoping they'd digitize the exhibit, but so far it's not available online. However, since multiple people who aren't local to Rochester have asked for images, I stopped into the gallery and did my best to get decent shots of each one (many are quite high up on the wall, so a few of the pictures are a little wonky &/or have reflections from the glass).

Shaped by the American Dream: Deaf History through Deaf Art

Celebrating the Deaf American experience through identity, citizenship, sociality, education and movements for equality. The artwork highlights the Deaf American experience from 1889 through 1989, featuring artworks by thirty Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing artists.

My grandfather, David E. Mudgett, grew up in Illinois, and went deaf at age 8 when he contracted spinal meningitis. He attended Gallaudet College in Washington, DC, where he received a bachelors degree, and subsequently taught math at the Illinois School for the Deaf. He was also an amateur woodworker, and a prolific painter. In addition to the approximately 50 framed paintings our family has of his, there are also around 400 unframed drawings, sketches, and sketchbooks (we donated 300 of these to the Dyer Arts Center, for use in student research and study). He used mostly watercolor, but experimented with oils, pen, and charcoal as well.

The paintings below are from many different locales - Illinois, Wisconsin, Maine, Washington, Canada, and the US Virgin Islands. A few are of the house where my mom grew up, in Jacksonville, IL.


Our family also loaned a number of artworks by other Deaf artists, most of which were given to my grandparents, David & Grace Mudgett, or to my mom, Patricia Mudgett DeCaro, by the artists themselves.

  • Cadwallader L. Washburn - portraits

  • Kelly H. Stevens - paintings from Texas and Spain

  • John L. Clarke (Native American name: Cutapuie) - bear sculpture

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Jeannie Hemphill
Jeannie Hemphill
Jan 14, 2023

Thank you SO much, Tate; hard to take photos of art, but you did it well. Sure remember what a fabulous watercolor painter your grandfather David Mudgett was!!!!!

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