William McGregor Paxton and Elizabeth Okie Paxton: An Artistic Partnership

On view now – July 14, 2019
Presented by The Joe Orgill Family Fund for Exhibitions
Organized by Dixon Gallery and Gardens

William McGregor Paxton (1869-1941) is best remembered for his involvement with the Boston School, which included American Impressionists Edmund Tarbell, Frank Benson, Joseph DeCamp, and others. Inspired by Dutch art of the seventeenth century, their work focused on the domestic interior and featured young women reading, sewing, cleaning, cooking, and entertaining friends.

Elizabeth Okie Paxton (1882-1972) met her husband while studying in Boston at the Cowles Art School where he served as an instructor. From a prominent New England family, Elizabeth became engaged to the artist when she was only eighteen. For the next decade, she became his muse and favorite model, and put her own painting on hold. However, by 1910, she returned to art, maintaining a studio in the couple’s home, and specializing in still life paintings. These works reveal her talent and her keen understanding of the spaces and objects that make up domestic life. She exhibited her work in national and regional exhibitions, winning a silver medal in 1915 at the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. After William Paxton died in 1941, Elizabeth devoted the next thirty years to maintaining her husband’s legacy.

William McGregor Paxton and Elizabeth Okie Paxton: An Artistic Partnership is the first examination of the work of William Paxton in nearly four decades and is the first comprehensive study of Elizabeth Paxton and her career. The exhibition is accompanied by a full color catalogue, written by Jane Ward Faquin, guest curator and former Dixon Curator of Education. She was the organizer of the Dixon originated exhibitions Helen M. Turner: The Woman’s Point of View (2010) and Charles Courtney Curran: Seeking the Ideal (2014). The accompanying catalogue (available in the museum store) includes essays on Elizabeth Paxton, as well as the couple’s relationship, both artistic and personal. The Dixon’s partner on this project is the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, where the exhibition will travel as a part of the museum’s centenary celebration.

Sponsored by: Arthur E. and Alice F. Adams Foundation | Kate and Michael Buttarazzi | Karen and Preston Dorsett | Rose M. Johnston | Anne and Mike Keeney | Nancy and Steve Morrow | Irene Orgill | Gwen and Penn Owen | Irene and Fred Smith | Adele Wellford | Barbara and Lewis Williamson

William McGregor Paxton, 'The Sisters', 1904. Oil on canvas. Gerald Peters Gallery, New York


Countess de Castiglione: The Allure of Creative Self-Absorption

On view now – July 14, 2019
Presented by The Joe Orgill Family Fund for Exhibitions
Organized by Dixon Gallery and Gardens

In 1854, a sixteen-year-old newlywed named Virginia Oldoini Verasis (1837-1899) assumed the title of the Countess of Castiglione, and made that new identity her own. A great beauty, grande horizontale, and mistress to Napoleon III, the Countess was an iconic figure of the glamorous Second Empire. In an era when the average person might be photographed once in his or her lifetime, the Countess commissioned more than 400 images of herself from the Parisian studio photographer Pierre-Louis Pierson and others. She spent much of her fortune, even going into debt, in pursuing this creative endeavor.

Countess de Castiglione: The Allure of Creative Self-Absorption features over thirty of these photographs surrounding the Dixon Gallery and Gardens’ own rare 1864 terracotta bust of the Countess by the French sculptor Albert Ernest Carrier- Belleuse (1824 – 1887). In extending this concept of feminine creative self-representation, the exhibition also includes examples of four important twentieth-century artists who shared the Countess's proclivity for self examination, Cindy Sherman (b. 1954), Francesca Woodman (1958-1981), Gillian Wearing (b. 1963), and Nikki Lee (b. 1970). The Countess herself recorded obsessively from early beauty to much later in life, leaving an important body of work that continues to inspire artists today.

An exhibition catalogue authored by guest curator Robert Flynn Johnson will be available for purchase in the museum store.

Sponsored by: Kate and Michael Buttarazzi | Karen and Preston Dorsett | Rose M. Johnston | Anne and ike Keeney | Nancy and Steve Morrow | Irene Orgill | Gwen and Penn Owen | Irene and Fred Smith | Adele Wellford | Barbara and Lewis Williamson

Pierre-Louis Pierson, The Eyes, 1863-66. Gelatin silver print, ca. 1930s. Private collection


First Saturdays: Memphis Urban Sketchers

April 14 – July 7, 2019
Mallory/Wurtzburger Galleries

Memphis Urban Sketchers is the Mid-South chapter of an international network of artists whose drawings reflect the cities in which they live and travel. Working in a variety of media, including graphite, watercolor, pen, and colored pencil, the more than twenty artists featured in First Saturdays capture honest observations of everyday life. When showcased together, their works document a particular time and place in Memphis history and create a shared narrative that speaks to the collective experience of the group, and Memphians alike. 2019 marks the two hundredth anniversary of the founding of the city of Memphis in 1819. Coinciding with Memphis in May International Festival's salute to Memphis, the Dixon joins various Memphis institutions in celebrating this historic moment through First Saturdays, which offers a creative interpretation of the places and landmarks that make our city unique.

Artists participating: Elizabeth Alley (guest curator), Mary Baddour, Phyllis Boger, Linda Boswell, Eric Clausen, Jeff Craig, Alison England, Carl Fox, Glenn Fuqua, Sandra Hill, Christina Huntington, Martha Kelly, Vicki Less, Nancy Mardis, Gabriela Martinez, Mary Ann May, Janis McCarty, Tom Pellett, Richard Reed, Mary K. VanGieson, Julie Wiklund, and Mark Williams

Sponsored by: Suzanne and Neely Mallory | The Estate of Mary and Charles Wurtzburger

Education Exhibition: Made in Dixon 

April 27 – June 23, 2019 
Liz and Tommy Farnsworth Education Building

Made in Dixon/Made at Dixon features works of art from numerous Dixon programs. This window to more than twenty programs offered onsite and through outreach initiatives, presents the talent of hundreds of participants of all ages and all walks of life. The exhibition also offers hands-on components that allow visitors to add their work to the exhibition on the spot.

Sponsored by: 

Coming Up
  • Tuesday, Jun 25 10:30 AM - 11:15 AM

    Mini Masters (ages 2-4)

    Join Mini Masters and introduce your little ones t...

  • Tuesday, Jun 25 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

    Tours at Two

    Tuesday and Sundays, 2:00pm  Enjoy a guil...

  • Wednesday, Jun 26 6:15 AM - 7:15 AM

    Sunrise Yoga Class

    Start your morning at the Dixon! Certified Person...

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