Premier Artist Maynard Dixon Featured at 2020 Auction

Artist Feature

(Shown Above) Maynard Dixon (1875-1946) – Trail Herd – 30″ x 36″ Oil – Estimate: $400,000 – 600,000

Maynard Dixon

Shining the spotlight on a strong set of offerings at the 2020 Scottsdale Art Auction, coming up on Saturday, June 13th, are thirteen paintings and drawings by one of America’s premier painters, Maynard Dixon (1875-1946). Spanning five decades, from the 1890’s to the 1940’s, these thirteen works chronicle Dixon’s development as well as his response to the tumult of his times as he took in the new artistic currents of the era and transformed them into his own personal style.

From works of pure illustration, to Art Nouveau and Brandywine inflected drawings and paintings, to works that draw on Dixon’s participation in the mural movement, to important major oils that give the American West a modernist twist, the 2020 Scottsdale Art Auction reminds us that Maynard Dixon occupies a crucial place at the nexus of American art in the first half of the 20th century.

His friendships with artists as diverse as Charles M. Russell and Diego Rivera, and his marriage to famed Depression photographer Dorothea Lange brought him into the sweep of American history. His keen understanding of the many strands of modernism make his work essential as Western art, as American art, and as art of the 20th century.

The two top Dixons in the sale are a 30 x 36 oil, Trail Herd, painted in 1936 (estimate: $400-600,000-) and a 36 x 40 oil from 1930, entitled Neolithic Afternoon (estimate $500-700,000). Trail Herd transforms a dusty cattle drive into a classical, heroic frieze of stoic skill and hard work while Neolithic Afternoon is the artist’s richly-hued post-impressionist reverie of an ancient California as Gauguin might have conceived it. There are also three exceptional landscapes in the auction. Deserted Sheep Ranch (estimate: $150-250,000-) is a wonderfully composed meditation on the ravages of the Dust Bowl; West Walls of Zion (estimate: $100-150,000-) offers a raptor’s eye perspective on the cyclopean blocks of stone that comprise this National Park, and the shadowed mesa in Winter Landscape (estimate: $100-150,000-) broods and muses like a tempestuous, dreaming deity. Eight fascinating drawings, illustrations, and studies-each one representing a critical chapter in Dixon’s storied career-round out this rare baker’s dozen.

by James D. Balestrieri

Neolithic Afternoon
36″ x 40″ Oil
Estimate: $500,000 – $700,000

Winter Landscape
25″ x 30″ Oil
Estimate: $100,000 – $150,000

Their Notice
25 1/2″ x 19 1/2″ Gouache
Estimate: $8,000 – $24,000

Nez Perce Cowpuncher
20″ x 14″ Watercolor
Estimate: $$18,000 – $24,000

West Walls of Zion
25″ x 30″ Oil
Estimate: $100,000 – $150,000


Saddle Stock
17″ x 21″ Watercolor
Estimate: $45,000 – $65,000


Deserted Sheep Range
25″ x 30″ Oil
Estimate: $150,000 – $250,000

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