A Natural Bouquet
Edwin Walter Dickinson
Edwin Walter Dickinson (Massachusetts/New York/California 1891-1978) was an early American modernist painter and draftsman. Dickinson was born and raised in the Finger Lakes region of New York. During his formative years Dickinson endured many tragic events including the death of his mother from tuberculosis in 1903, his older brother’s suicide in 1913, his father’s remarriage in 1914 to a much younger woman, and the death of a close friend. These tragedies all became influences on Dickinson’s work later in life. Dickinson failed two entrance exams for the US Naval Academy and consequently enrolled at the Art Students League in New York City where he studied with William Merritt Chase. In the summers of 1912 and 1913 Dickinson stayed in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he met and studied with Charles W. Hawthorne. Dickinson took up residency in Provincetown from the summer 1913 to the summer of 1916, working as Hawthorne’s assistant in 1914. Hawthorne had a great influence on Dickinson’s work throughout his life. As a teacher Hawthorne had his students use palette knives and their fingers to paint “as if painting had been just invented”. Hawthorne inspired Dickinson to paint without formulas and to look for the unexpected. Hawthorne’s ideas were avant-garde and are considered by some to be the precursors to the abstract expressionist movement that would not occur until 20 years after Hawthorne’s death.
Working during the modernist era, Dickinson deviated from the norm in his painting’s styles and genres. Dickinson’s paintings were often dark, dreamlike, and almost surrealist in nature. Many of his paintings were obsessively reworked again and again, yet other works were painted en plein air and at the moment. These later paintings were often small in scale, semi-abstract in style, using soft and spontaneous light to convey their ideas. Dickinson also painted many haunting portraits of himself, possibly the result of his life’s previous tragedies and reflect how he saw these event’s affects on his life.
Dickinson’s training as an artist included studies in New York at the Pratt Institute Art School, the National Academy of Design, the Art Students League, and the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy.
Dickinson’s works have been exhibited at many prestigious institutions, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1916, 1928-57; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, 1917-22, 29-31, 44-49, 60, 64, 66 (solo), 2003 (solo); National Academy of Design, 1918, 49, 82, 89-92, 2003 (solo); Luxembourg Museum, Paris, 1919; Art Institute of Chicago, 1920; Carnegie Institute, 1921; Jeu de Pomme, Paris, 1938; Albright [Knox] Art Gallery, 1927 (solo), 2002 (solo); Museum of Modern Art, 1938, 43, 52, 54, 61-63, and 76; Whitney Museum of American Art, 1965 (solo), and 66; Brooklyn Museum of Art; World’s Fair of New York, 1964; Everson Museum of Art, 1977; Joseph Hirshhorn Museum, 1980(solo).
Dickinson’s works are held in many private and public collections including the National Museum of American Art; the Museum of Modern Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the National Academy of Design, NY; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo NY; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; and the Joseph Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC.
This work dated from the late 1930s and is titled ‘A Natural Bouquet’.
Oil on canvas.
Measures 23.25″ x 28.25″ sight size, and 29.5″ x 34.5″ x 3″ overall including framing.
Provenance: Robert Henry Adams Gallery (label), Tibor De Nagy Gallery (label), Graham Gallery (labels (2) verso).
Price on request