Cottonwoods of El Dorado, 1924Maynard Dixon (American, 1875–1946)
Artist Maynard Dixon called California home for much of his life, but he ultimately became known for depicting scenes throughout the American West. He grew up on his family’s ranch near Fresno and trained briefly at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in San Francisco. At the outset, he was an illustrator, producing western scenes for magazines and newspapers. In 1900, he visited Arizona and New Mexico, which inspired his lifelong passion for exploring and depicting the Southwestern landscape and the Native Americans he encountered there. In the 1930s, he produced scenes of migrant workers and the Great Depression’s “forgotten man.”
Dixon abandoned commercial art in 1912 to concentrate on easel paintings and murals, but he never relinquished his objective approach to subject matter. He met photographer Dorothea Lange in 1920, and they married the following year. Her influence prompted Dixon to produce paintings that were more spare, stylized, and defined.