Lot 1

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MAYNARD DIXON (American 1875-1946)
Plains Indian in War Bonnet -1936
Signed lower left and dated
32.25 inches x 19.25 inches
Estimate:  $35,000 - 50,000   € 32,200 - 46,000
Price Realized: $62,500.00


Christie's, New York, November 19, 2014, Lot 150, illustrated

Born in Fresno, California in the San Joaquin Valley, Maynard Dixon (1875 – 1946), originally named Henry St. John Dixon, became a noted illustrator, landscape, and mural painter of the early 20th-century American West, especially the desert, Indians, early settlers, and cowboys.

At the age of sixteen he sent some of his sketches to Frederic Remington (1861 – 1909), who returned them with praise and encouragement to continue his work. It was suggested that he apply to the School of Design in San Francisco where he was readily accepted and began his studies there in 1891, but found the approach to be too formal and withdrew. He wandered and sketched all over the West and Northwest including: Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah and exhibited regularly with the San Francisco Art Association.

One of the first critics to laud him was Charles Lummis, first city editor of the Los Angeles Times, and well known writer who crusaded for western settlement. At the encouragement of Lummis, Dixon had first visited Arizona in 1900 and 1902, and after visiting that state, Dixon proclaimed, "he had found his country.”

He visited Hubbell's Trading Post and painted the Navajo Indians at Canyon de Chelly on a commission from Hubbell. He returned to Arizona again and again, including in 1907 to Tucson where he did a series of western murals for the newly-built Southern Pacific Railroad Depot. Dixon gained international fame for his western subjects with the sky colors that became his distinctive trademark. An Indian thunderbird was used often as a logo in his work.

Maynard Dixon's many works: sketches, drawings, paintings, illustrations and murals, attest to the deep understanding he had of his subjects--primarily the desert and its inhabitants, the Indians, early settlers and cowboys. Dixon's style was painting bold masses of color with simplicity of line, a technique that led him into mural painting in which he excelled much of his professional life. In Los Angeles, he also did murals for the new Southwest Museum founded by Charles Lummis, and in 1946, he did sketches for a large mural of the Grand Canyon for the Santa Fe Railway's Los Angeles office. But he died before he completed the work, and his widow, Edith Hamlin and his friend Buck Weaver finished it.

For other works by Dixon see lots; 6, 10, 11, 13, 14, and 35.

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