Ida Libby Dengrove, American (1919 - 2005)

Ida Libby Dengrove, American (1919 - 2005)

A New York courtroom artist who "visualized the moods and faces of some notorious trials", Ida Dengrove was also a fine-art portrait painter. From 1973 to 1986, she worked as a courtroom illustrator for NBC-TV, and for her skills won two Emmy Awards. She was recognized for her illustrations of the Son of Sam trial, 1977-1978, of David Berkowitz and for the Murder-at-the-Met trial of Craig S. Crimmins, a stagehand. Among her other subjects were Jean Harris convicted of murdering D. Herman Tanower, John Lennon, John Hinckley, Yoko Ono and John Gotti.

Using chalk pastels and charcoal pencils on a 14-by-17 sketch pad, she captured John Lennon as a defendant, Jackie Kennedy Onassis as a plaintiff, Mick Jagger as a witness, and Sid Vicious as an accused murdered. She sketched mobsters John Gotti, Carmine “The Snake” Persico, and Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno as they tried to escape the grip of the law. Her work on the David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz trial and Craig Crimmins “Murder at the Met” trial earned her two Emmys.

Dengrove, whose maiden name was Leibovitz, was born in Philadelphia where she attended Moore College, graduating in 1940. She taught for several years in the public schools until serving in World War II as a USO sketch artist of servicemen. She later taught in colleges and gave numerous lectures.

For 64 years, she was married to Dr. Edward Dengrove, a psychiatrist, who died in 2003. The couple had two sons.

Ida Dengrove died in Los Angeles in April 13, 2005 from complications of Alzheimer's Disease.

The defining characteristic of Dengrove’s court sketches is an eerily vivid sense of the moment’s emotional impact: families bow their heads and mourn a loss, lawyers and judges squabble over rules, juries suffer through tedium or horror.

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