'Dixon Dialect: The Susan and John Horseman Gift' Opens January 2018

Dixon Dialect: The Susan and John Horseman Gift    |    On view through April 1, 2018

In the fall of 2017, Susan and John Horseman generously donated twenty-eight works of art by twenty-five American and European artists to the Dixon Gallery and Gardens permanent collection. Dixon Board Chair C. Penn Owen III notes, “The Horseman Gift stands among the most important and impressive acts of collection building in our history.”

On January 28, 2018, Dixon Dialect, an exhibition that showcases each work in this marvelous gift, will open at the Dixon. Rediscover artists Paul Cornoyer, Earl Horter, Hovsep Pushman, and Alice Schille, whose work has been on view at the Dixon in Regional Dialect (2009), Modern Dialect (2012), or other exhibitions, while also learning more about Edgar Bissel, Bessie Potter Vonnoh, and Harold Weston. The Horsemans’ unrestricted gift also includes examples by such significant American artists as Hugh Breckenridge, Richard E. Miller, Elizabeth Nourse, and many others. The addition of these works to the Dixon permanent collection will allow the museum to expand its presentation and exploration of the dynamic artistic developments that took place in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Europe and America.


Julie Pierotti, the Dixon’s Martha R. Robinson Curator, states, “Susan and John Horseman have made a truly transformative gift to the Dixon.  This extraordinary collection adds an important perspective and depth to our existing collection—it doubles the number of works by American artists in the Dixon collection; and it more than doubles our collection of works by women artists, allowing us to tell more complete stories about the art of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. We couldn’t be more grateful to the Horsemans for this generous gift.”

John and Susan Horseman live in St. Louis, and they have been collecting American art for nearly twenty years. Works from their collection have appeared in dozens of exhibitions around the country. Both have volunteered on boards and committees of museums and other non-profits in St. Louis. John Horseman has served on the Dixon Board of Trustees for more than six years. The Horsemans recently spoke about why they decided to make such a large gift to the Dixon: "When we thought about where to donate the paintings, we decided they would fit best where they could meaningfully add to the story told by an existing collection. Our long relationship with the Dixon, with Director Kevin Sharp, and Memphis made it an easy decision. The Dixon has an extraordinary collection of European art, and our American works dovetail with them to expand the museum's narrative. We know they will be appreciated by Memphis and by the visitors to the Dixon who love art as we do."                                                                                                          

Kevin Sharp, the Dixon’s Linda W. and S. Herbert Rhea Director, offered, “The extraordinary generosity and support of Susan and John Horseman throughout the last ten years have helped to make the Dixon a more robust and vibrant institution. Their latest contribution will be a catalyst for even more good things to come for the Dixon, which is precisely why Susan and John made the gift here.”


Between 2008 and 2010, the Horsemans loaned the museum sixty paintings from their collection for the Dixon-organized exhibition Regional Dialect: American Scene Paintings from the John and Susan Horseman Collection. That exhibition traveled to six other venues besides the Dixon. In 2012, the Dixon developed Modern Dialect: American Paintings from the John and Susan Horseman Collection, a second touring show. That exhibition included sixty-eight works by notable American modernists, who explored Surrealism and championed the rise of abstract painting in the United States. Modern Dialect toured to five additional museum venues through early 2014. Significant scholarly catalogues authored by Julie Pierotti accompanied both exhibitions.                                                                                                                       

In 2014, the Dixon presented Augusta Savage’s Gamin, a focused exhibition drawn largely from the Horseman collection and sponsored by The John and Susan Horseman Foundation for American Art. Celebrating the Dixon’s acquisition of Gamin, a landmark in the history of American sculpture, the exhibition explored Savage’s career and placed her masterful Gamin in the larger context of early twentieth-century African-American art.

The Dixon Gallery and Gardens is grateful to be a part of the Horsemans’ ongoing adventures in American art. Please be sure to plan a visit to the Dixon in early 2018 in order to enjoy the works featured in Dixon Dialect: The Susan and John Horseman Gift

Image credits:

Elizabeth Nourse, Mère et Bébé, ca. 1912; Oil on canvas; Collection of Dixon Gallery and Gardens; Gift of Susan and John Horseman, 2017.3.28. 

Frank Harmon Myers, Dappled Sunlight, 1925; Oil on canvas; Collection of Dixon Gallery and Gardens; Gift of Susan and John Horseman, 2017.

Posted by Chantal Drake at 9:30 AM
Share |

Coming Up
Monday Closed
Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 1pm - 5pm
Third Thursdays: Open until 8pm
Special / Holiday Hours

This site was funded generously by the Thomas W. Briggs Foundation, Inc. © Dixon Gallery and Gardens | Memphis Web Design by Speak