Nov 22, 2022

Staff Favorites: What the Dixon Loves From the Dixon Collection

Green Room With Two Chairs And The Back Of A Sofa Surrounded By Paitings On The Walls

Nobody knows the Dixon collection as well as those who work within it everyday. So who better to ask the hardest question in museum history: what's your favorite?

Cezanne Paul Trees and Rocks near the Chateau Noir 1996 2 20
Paul Cezanne, "Trees and Rocks," ca. 1900-1904. Oil on canvas.

Theresa Cunningham - Trees and Rocks by Paul Cezanne

It is fascinating to me that Cezanne takes a typical landscape subject and turns it on its head by reorienting the composition so that we are presented with the forest outside Aix-en-Provence in portrait format. Through this simple rotation, Cezanne pushes back against the conventional tropes of landscape painting. Instead of emphasizing the horizon line or mountains in the distance – as he does in other works from this period, like his Mont Sainte Victoire paintings – we are confronted with the rocky terrain immediately in front of us in an unusual way. Every time I look at this painting, I notice something new!

Scott William Edouard Rural Scene HIGH RES TIFF IMG 5800
William Edouard Scott, "Rural Scene," ca. 1930. Oil on board.

Chantal Drake – William Edouard Scott, Rural Scene

I choose the Rural Scene as my current favorite because outdoor scenes don’t usually hold my attention, but this painting has a lot of charm. I like how the artist depicts the trees and lush greenery in the scene. I was unfamiliar with this William Edouard Scott before we acquired this painting in 2021, and always love being introduced to African-American artists.

Porter Charles Ethan Bowl of Cherries 2020 1 1 HIGH RES TIFF
Charles Ethan Porter, "Bowl of Cherries," ca. 1890. Oil on canvas.

Kristen Rambo – Charles Ethan Porter, Bowl of Cherries

I am usually drawn to landscapes and figure drawings, but Bowl of Cherries has been a favorite of mine since the Dixon acquired it during the 2020 Curator’s Circle event. The painting is lush and quiet, and the cherries are the perfect shade of red.

Owen Robert Emmett Snowstorm 2017 3 7 HIGH RES
Robert Emmett Owen, "Snowstorm," ca. 1912. Oil on canvas.

Charlene Williams – Robert Emmett Owen, Snow Storm

This painting takes me back to my childhood, so real life.

Auguste Renoir The Picture Book Dixon Gallery
Auguste Renoir, "The Picture Book," ca. 1895. Oil on canvas mounted on board.

Glenn Overall – Auguste Renoir, The Picture Book


Plutto as a River God Hochst Figurine
Hochst, "Plutto as a River God," ca. 1770, Hard-paste porcelain.

Corkey Sinks - Clara L Deike's Fauvist Landscape and Hochst's Plutto as a River God

It's hard for me to choose one favorite, so I narrowed it down to two.

Deike - I'm especially attracted to the bright colors. When we first received the work as a gift from Susan and John Horseman, as a Graphic Designer, I wanted to put the image on everything: mugs, postcards, billboards, etc.

Höchst (pictured here) - It looks like a baby kneeling on a wave. He's clutching his right fist with a sort of pained expression, and his frustrated vibe is strangely relatable. I don't think I've seen many (if any) depictions of Roman/Greek gods as babies, and for some reason, I find that to be very funny. An image of the object would be a perfect choice for a doom metal album.

Sargent John Singer Ramon Subercaseaux in a Gondola 1996 2 13 HIGH RES 2
John Singer Sargent, "Ramon Subercaseaux in a Gondola," ca. 1880. Oil on canvas mounted on panel.

Sarah Lorenz – John Singer Sargent, Ramon Subercaseaux in a Gondola

I love imagining what it must have felt like being in the gondola in Venice, first of all. And then imagining how much fun it must have been to be across from your very good friend, both painting each other. The beauty of the setting coupled with the playfulness of what each artist is doing is a lot of fun for me.

Marc Chagall Bouquet of Flowers with Lovers
Marc Chagall, "Bouquet of Flowers with Lovers," ca. 1927. Oil on canvas.

Stuart Janssen – Marc Chagall, Bouquet of Flowers with Lovers

As for why: irrespective of the colors and dream-like visuals, Marc Chagall was, like my great-grandparents, born in the Pale of Settlement and that informed his depictions of the Jewish communities both he and they came from. While they left the Pale for America in the 1890s under threat of antisemitic violence and married here, it’s easy to imagine the lovers under his bouquet as being them.

Utrillo Maurice Road to Puteaux 1996 2 17 unframed
Maurice Utrillo, "Road to Puteaux," ca. 1913 -1914. Oil on canvas.

Shawn Jones - Maurice Utrillo, The Road to Puteaux

It reminds me of home.

Cals Adolphe Felix Mother Boudoux at Her Window 1977 3 HIGH RES
Adolphe-Felix Cals, "La Mere Boudoux À Sa Fenêtre," ca. 1876. Oil on canvas.

Julie Pierotti – Adolphe-Félix Cals, La Mère Boudoux À Sa Fenêtre

I love the broken brushwork, the view of the crowded rooftops out the open window, and the dignity Cals gives his humble subject.

Courbet Gustave Lac Leman 2018 3 HIGH RES
Gustave Courbet, "Lac Leman," ca. 1877. Oil on canvas.

Juliana Bjorklund – Gustave Courbet, Lac Léman

I have too many favorites, but this painting always makes me stop and take a cleansing breath, while I lose myself in the blue sky for a moment.

Forain Jean Louis Evening at the Opera fan 1993 7 48 HIGH RES IMG 7829
Jean-Louis Forain, "Evening at the Opera (fan)," ca. 1879. Gouache, pencil or chalk on parchment.

Melissa Bosdorf – Jean-Louis Forain, Evening at the Opera

It was hard to make a choice, there are several in the collection that I’m fond of. I especially like this particular piece because it is colorful and unusual.

Colinet Claire Dancer 2017 3 18 View A HIGH RES
Claire Colinet, "Dancer," ca. 1925. Bronze.

Kori Van der Bijl – Claire Colinet, Dancer

I admire the way the artist was able to capture the subject’s movement, grace, and the flowing of the dancer’s dress within the chosen medium.

a painting called View Through A Window Nice
Raoul Dufy, "View Through A Window, Nice," ca. 1925. Oil on canvas.

Susan Johnson – Raoul Dufy, View Through A Window, Nice

I started working at the Dixon on September, 3, 2003 and was given a tour of the facility that day with Marilyn Rhea Cheeseman. The moment I saw this painting, I knew I would love the Dixon. The strong colors, the view of Nice, the exposure to both the indoor and outdoor worlds using different color palettes for each – even the fish. Perfection. If it is ever missing from the collection, someone better check my living room.

Troubetzkoy Prince Paul Petrovitch Mrs Harry Payne Whitney Gertrude Vanderbilt 2017 4 2 View B HIGH RES
Prince Paolo Petrovitch Troubetzkoy, "Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney (Gertrude Vanderbilt)," ca. 1910. Bronze with dark brown patina.

Brittany Ashley - Prince Paolo Petrovitch Troubetzkoy, Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney (Gertrude Vanderbilt)

Troubetzkoy infused so much life into this relatively small sculpture - the clasped hands loose against her lap, the turn of her head. I especially love the deep line down her brow and nose, severe and straight until it reaches her pout and splinters to either side. So dramatic and emotional while appearing reserved.

The Dixon Gallery & Gardens is open Tuesday - Saturday 10AM to 5PM and Sunday 1PM to 5PM. Admission is free through 2024, so swing by and see some of these favorites and many others in-person.

- Brittany Ashley, Communications Intern '22