Why are we called Dixon GALLERY and Gardens?

Why are we called Dixon GALLERY and Gardens?

The Cambridge Dictionary defines art gallery as a building where works of art can be seen by the public. The definition seems simple enough; we have artwork on view from our Permanent Collection, along with multiple traveling exhibitions a year, but still our name can be confusing to some. Why are we a fine art museum that is called a gallery? The answer lies with our founder, Hugo Norton Dixon, who was born in Southport, England on August 23, 1892. Happy Birthday, Hugo!

Mr. & Mrs. Dixon left the house, grounds, and bulk of their estate to the Hugo Dixon Foundation so that it might be appreciated by Memphians and visitors from all over the world. With their commitment to an ideal of excellence and beauty, and through their philanthropic foresight, the Dixons ensured the future of the institution that bears their name.

Paying homage to Hugo’s English heritage has always been an important part of the Dixon legacy; from the Georgian style architecture of the Dixon Residence and all subsequent additions, to the South Lawn’s pastoral landscape and English garden style Formal Gardens, and (you guessed it) even our name.

An open and public gallery displays work of art from world renowned artists and makes them available for visitors to view and enjoy. But in present day, especially in the United States, the term gallery is more commonly known as a space that sells artwork. We are not a traditional American art gallery; we are a fine art museum. We do not sell artwork, but instead work to preserve art and culture for public consumption. The National Gallery in London is great example of this same principle.

So, there you have it. Hugo Norton Dixon, an immigrant to our country, came here from England and worked to preserve he and his wife’s passions, art and horticulture, with the Memphis community and beyond. 

Posted by Chantal Drake at 11:08 AM
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