Dorothy Hood

(American, 1918-2000)
The Angel’s Key, 1987
Oil paint on canvas; 90 x 69 1/2 inches
Gifted in 2017, John M. O’Quinn Foundation, in honor of the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts

Widely regarded as one of Texas most talented artists, Dorothy Hood was born in Bryan and raised in Houston. She attended Rhode Island School of Design and the Art Student League of New York. The time spent on the East Coast played a major role in her work, along with the twenty-two years she spent in Mexico City starting in 1941 when, on a whim, she drove down to Mexico with friends. Deciding to settle in Mexico City, Hood had the opportunity to paint alongside Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and other members of the Mexican avant-garde. In 1946 she met and married her husband the Bolivian composer José María Velasco Maidana with whom she travelled all over the world. Moving back to Houston in the early 1960s, Hood brought a blend of New York abstraction and Mexican surrealism to the local art scene. Her large-format works reflect the exuberant palette and energy of midcentury Mexico as well the more ordered, structured vocabulary of the New York School. Although Hood almost singlehandedly made abstraction the language of avant-garde art in Texas during the 1960s and 1970s, this recognition did not come during her lifetime. Vastly underappreciated, it was not until years after her death and a push from her loyal supporters that Hood’s works started to gain the awareness it deserved. Hood’s works can now be found in museums all over Texas, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston where she used to teach. The Angel’s Key is part of a series influenced by Hood’s interest in Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey and her trips to India. Another one of Hood’s works, Time the Bridge of Doors c. 1979, can be found on the campus of the University of Houston-Clear Lake.


University of Houston
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts
Wortham Theatre Lobby

Learn more about the Dorothy Hood at the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections..

The University of Houston is fast becoming the premier destination for scholars, students and others interested in the work of Dorothy Hood (1918-2000). 

Learn more about the personal papers of Dorothy Hood at the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections.

A map charting out locations of Dorothy Hood works at the University of Houston is available here.

Other Artworks by this Artist

Coptic Days, ca. 1981

Going Forth V, 1997

Homage to Matisse, ca. 1969

The Face in the Sea, ca. 1970

Time the Bridge of Doors, 1979

Red Autumn, n.d.