“The mighty West looms vast before my sight, bright in the mystery of sun and sky; mesa and plain, the desert and the sown,….and on its farthest rim I see my soul arise, broad-winged and free, and beckon me.”
A poet and a painter, Lafayette Maynard Dixon (1875-1946) wrote those lines in 1904. Despite his ties to San Francisco’s early 20th century bohemian arts community, Dixon was a solitary soul, a searcher, returning over and over again to the Southwest’s vast expanse. Eagle’s Roost is luminous, mythic. Two solitary eagles—perhaps symbolic guardians—alight on a towering rock pinnacle. Dixon pulls us into the desert, its boundless beauty sacred. In his book, The Art and Life of Maynard Dixon, Donald J. Hagerty notes that by 1927 Dixon was utilizing unusual perspectives and advancing cubism’s tenets in his landscapes. I find Dixon’s southwest paintings deeply moving; earth’s origins, pulsing with strong design and completely unforced.
Tammy Christel, Jackson Hole Art Blog
Maynard Dixon (United States, 1875 – 1946), Eagle’s Roost, 1927-46. Oil on Canvas Board. 30 x 25 inches. JKM Collection®, National Museum of Wildlife Art. ©Estate of Maynard Dixon.