Born in London England, to a
wealthy family with ties to royalty, she became a noted long-time
resident artist of Taos, New Mexico. She grew up in the court
of Queen Victoria and took dancing lessons with the Queen's
grandchildren. Dorothy saw her first American Indian at the
age of five, attending a performance of Buffalo Bill's Wild
West Show. She was determined to become an artist, which was
not at all part of her parent's expectations of her socially.
Dorothy enrolled in the Slade School of Art in 1910, and graduated
six years later. Titled the "Honorable Dorothy Brett",
she also attended University College.
She began painting portraits
of English celebrities including novelist D.H. Lawrence,
she went to Taos with him and his wife in 1924. Dorothy
then became a U.S. citizen in 1938. She began painting Indian
genre but was hesitant because of her landscape and portrait
background, her first Indian depiction was of a rabbit hunt.
She became a close friend of artist and socialite Mabel
Dodge Luhan. Dorothy, Luhan and Frieda Lawrence became fixtures
of society in Taos and were known as the Three Fates. They
were marked by their attachment to D.H. Lawrence.
Brett is one of the earliest
established Taos artists. Her painting style is primitive,
and her expressions of Indian life romanticized.