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Maynard Dixon (1875-1946)

Aliases: Lafayette Maynard Dixon

Professions: Painter; Illustrator; Wall painter

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  • Maynard Dixon (1875-1946)

  • Maynard Dixon 1875-1946 , The Prairie

  • MAYNARD DIXON (1875-1946)

  • Maynard Dixon (1875-1946)

Maynard Dixon Biography

(b Fresno, CA, 1875; d Tucson, AZ, 1946) American Painter. No artist captured the magnificent sweeping landscape of the American West as dramatically as Maynard Dixon. His work became known to the American public through the widespread exposure of paintings he executed for magazine and newspapers. Like so many American artists of the early twentieth century, especially Western ones, Dixon found an early career as an illustrator as a way to satisfy his artistic compulsion while managing to earn a living. Dixon was born in Fresno, California in 1875, in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, where the terrain is dominated by open expanses of land and sky. As a child he suffered from asthma, and because of that illness led a quiet childhood. "A shy, sensitive youth, Maynard Dixon listened, looked and remembered, absorbing impressions of simplicity, low-laid masses of land, and the far-flung decorative sweeps of sky. Such shapes dominate and give signature to the art of his later years. 'No doubt,' he once reflected, 'these flat scenes have influenced my work. I don't like to psychoanalyze myself, but I have always felt my boyhood impressions are responsible for my 'weakness' for horizontal lines.” (D.J. Hagerty, Desert Dreams: The Art and Life of Maynard Dixon, Layton, Utah, 1993, p. 5) Even in his early works, done in the 1910s, Dixon refused to portray the West as many contemporary Western artists were doing. He objected to the way those artists were romanticizing the Western way of life by portraying its people engaged in conflict and capture. He made a more conscious effort to direct his art away from this romanticism in the early 1920s, a time that marked a turning point for Dixon when he emphasized on the rhythms of space, form, color and light, a decidedly modern treatment. Maynard Dixon's images of the American West reflect his own attitudes and imagination, and he believed deeply in the sanctity of painting for self-expression and pursued art for its own sake. This vision and approach has left an enduring legacy on Western art. (Credit: Christie’s, New York, Important American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, December 5, 2002, Lot 182)

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