Born to successful artist William de Leftwich Dodge and Frances Theodora Bland Pryor Dodge in Manhattan in 1901, Sara Pryor Dodge Kimbrough was raised in the plentiful artistic culture of the Belle Époque. Kimbrough began sitting for her father’s portraits as a young child in their Setauket home. Though she was sent away to New York City in 1910 to live with her grandfather and aunt, Kimbrough would continue to apprentice with her father as he transitioned to mural painting, and she would pose for him throughout her life. 

Her father encouraged her to pursue her inclinations towards art despite society’s views of women artists at the time, taking her to the studios of Hildreth Meiere and Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. Despite her proclivity for en plein air painting, she wouldn’t paint more seriously until after World War I had ended and with it her commitment to support the war efforts. A trip to France provided her with the opportunity to study and copy pieces in the Louvre. Upon her return, she assisted her father in painting the murals for the New York State Capital in Albany, finished in 1929, and the Buffalo (NY) City Hall, finished in 1931. To take her career further, she attended Cooper Union, practicing with charcoal. Upon returning to her father’s studio after completing her studies, she found learning in that environment difficult, so she transferred to the Grand Central School of Art and took very formative portrait classes with Wayman Adams. She would continue to paint en plein air with her father and later study with Henry Lee McFee in California and then with Jerry Farnsworth in Florida.

In addition to her visit to France, travel to Italy, England, and Mexico would expose her to other art styles and subject matter. However, it was while she was in Mexico that she met a fellow tourist who would eventually become her husband: Hunter Southworth Kimbrough of Greenwood, Mississippi. They were married in New Orleans before returning to Mississippi, where she would remain until her death in 1990. In about 1934 her daughter was born, and in 1935 her father died, marking a great change in her life. For the rest of her career, she showed her portraits, still lifes, and southern landscapes in exhibitions through the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors (now the National Association of Women Artists, Inc.), the American Artists Professional League, the Atlanta Arts Association (now the High Museum), and the Phoenix Fine Arts Association (now the Phoenix Art Museum), and at the Brooklyn Museum (NY), Mississippi Art Association, and Mellon Gallery, which is now part of the National Gallery of Art. Despite her long artistic relationship with her muralist father, Kimbrough’s portraits were her most popular works. Though they were “conservative” in a way that indicated a clear technical background and her exposure to accomplished artists, including Wayman Adams during her formative years, her work remained “bold” and full of “vitality and character.”