William McGregor Paxton and Elizabeth Okie Paxton: An Artistic Partnership

April 28 – 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, American (1869-1911), The Breakfast, 1911. Oil on canvas. Private Collection.

 


Countess de Castiglione: The Allure of Creative Self-Absorption

April 28 – 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 Mike 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


Central to Their Lives: Southern Women Artists from the Johnson Collection

July 28, 2019 – October 13, 2019
Presented by The Joe Orgill Family Fund for Exhibitions
Organized by the Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, South Carolina

Central to Their Lives investigates the achievements of forty-two women artists working in and inspired by the American South. The exhibition examines the complex challenges these artists confronted in a traditionally conservative region during a period in which women’s social, cultural, and political roles were being redefined and reinterpreted.


Kate Freeman Clark

July 28 – October 13, 2019
Presented by The Joe Orgill Family Fund for Exhibitions
Organized by Dixon Gallery and Gardens

A native of Holly Springs, Mississippi, Kate Freeman Clark was a Southern Impressionist painter who produced a large and brilliant body of work, mainly in New York between the years of 1893 and 1923. The exhibition highlights the intimate portraits, compelling still-lifes, and bucolic landscapes that defined her career.



 


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