Obituary: Artist Dorothea Wight opened her studio to Lucian Freud and left a mark on history

An artist whose Kentish Town studio opened its doors to legendary artist Lucian Freud has died at the age of 68 following a long struggle with cancer.

Dorothea Wight worked with some of the most prestigious painters of the 20th century at her plate-making and editioning workshop in Queen’s Crescent, where artists could make prints of their work.

The studio, called Studio Prints, was one of the first print workshops open to anyone who wanted to use it when she founded it in 1968.

Ms Wight and her husband, Marc Balakjian, 75, worked with over 100 artists over the course of 40 years at the studio, including Freud, Stephen Conroy, Ken Kiff and Celia Paul.

Her family announced she had passed away at her home in Elms Avenue in Muswell Hill on Thursday, May 23.


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Mr Balakjian paid tribute to his late wife, whom he was married to for 40 years.

He said: “She was always very helpful. If she could do anything to help anyone, she would do it. That’s why so many important artists wanted to work with her at the studio.

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“She was my companion and my friend. Everything I could say would be a cliché, which doesn’t mean much, but she was very important to me.”

Ms Wight had suffered from Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, over the last 10 years.

She was born in Devon in 1944. After attending the Dartington College of Art she was accepted by the Slade School of Fine Art in Bloomsbury, where she studied fine art between 1964 and 1968.

After graduating, she decided to open her own print studio.

“She thought opening the studio was very romantic,” said Mr Balakjian. “She had a lot of ambition and enthusiasm but no money. But she still managed to buy a place to start a workshop.”

Ms Wight did not only work behind the scenes. She exhibited her own work at group and solo exhibitions over the course of 30 years, in London and abroad.

Collections of her work can be seen at the British Museum as well as the Victoria and Albert Museum.

After her two children were born, Ms Wight took a step back from the spotlight to dedicate more time to them.

“She carried on in a small way, making some sketches,” said her husband. “She said that when the children grew up, she would return to making her own work but by that time, she fell ill.”

In 2011, the couple decided to close Studio Prints after Ms Wight was unable to work any longer.

In the last six months of her life, the aggressive nature of the cancer and harsh treatment left Ms Wight paralysed.

But her husband remembered: “She loved to see the garden in bloom and she could see a little part of it from her bed.”

Ms Wight is survived by her husband, son Aram, 29, and daughter, Tamar, 33.

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