Maynard Dixon: The Master of Motion

Art Auction Reviews

Chiseled and rounded, the horses in Maynard Dixon’s masterful 1945 watercolor, Saddle Stock, might be racing out of a cave painting in France—or sprinting off an Anasazi wall in Arizona.

Chiseled and rounded, the horses in Maynard Dixon’s masterful 1945 watercolor, Saddle Stock, might be racing out of a cave painting in France—or sprinting off an Anasazi wall in Arizona. And that’s an interesting way to think about any Dixon—or any work of two-dimensional art at all, in fact—to imagine it, in all its style, in three-dimensions, as if you have your Virtual Reality goggles on.

Grace runs alongside power in Saddle Stock. The sure economy of an artist who, near the end of his career and life, knows what to include, and what to leave out, an artist who knows exactly what he wants to convey.

But what is that? What do you see? Light, dust, the sharp shadows under the brush, a simple sky, varied only by the ratio of water to pigment—the mixture, if you will—that Dixon makes.

And the horse and rider: what of them? Imagine the textures—the coats of the animals, the graininess of the sand—and the layers of volumes and space as you move from foreground through the horses and rider to the lip of the draw and the sky beyond. Imagine all of this in motion, substance and shadow. Pretty neat little film running in your mind, isn’t it?

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