2023 Coeur d’Alene Art Auction / Lot 20721 / 307  •  View Catalog  •   • 

207
Maynard Dixon (1875 – 1946)
Migration, No. 2 (1924)
oil on canvas
20 × 30 inches
25 × 35 × 2 inches (framed)
signed and dated lower left

VERSO
Signed, titled, and “#272”

According to Dixon biographer Donald J. Hagerty, “During the late summer of 1923, Anita Baldwin, a wealthy heiress and patron of Maynard Dixon, stopped by his San Francisco studio to buy drawings and paintings. While there she invited Dixon and his wife, photographer Dorothea Lange to join her on a proposed two-month trip to Walpi on the Hopi Reservation. Interested in Native American music, she decided she wanted to write an opera based on Hopi music. All expenses would be taken care of she told Dixon and Lange who quickly accepted the offer. Dixon and Lange met Baldwin in Los Angeles, riding in her private railroad car to Flagstaff, Arizona, then taking the journey to Walpi by specially outfitted White trucks.

“Dixon remained at Walpi until early December 1923, living with one of the Hopi Snake priests and his brother. Perched on the edge of First Mesa, Walpi offered a 360-degree panorama, all sky and faraway horizons, where distance signaled to distance. Dixon’s long stay on the Hopi Reservation turned into an intense spiritual experience, an almost timeless existence and preoccupied with his work to the exclusion of material considerations. His mystical attachment to the Hopi universe and their country is evident in a letter he wrote to the noted New York art dealer Robert MacBeth: ‘When you see one of their ceremonies – there for an hour something fine flashes out clear; there is savage beauty in them – they have imagination. They have dignity and form. Their things are for the archaeologist and the painter to understand. From them the scientist recreates the ancient world, the artist creates a new one. In these canvasses you will probably see traces of all this. There is something of magic in it, and legends endow it with strange meanings. The imagination moves free and the past and the present are one. So, the visions of the old days have been important to my work as things actually seen.’

“Around the early part of 1924, Dixon started working on paintings in his San Francisco studio based on his stay at Walpi and other locations on the Hopi Reservation. One of the paintings that emerged he called Migration. It appears this is another version of a larger painting with the same title. The name indicates the painting was inspired by Hopi ceremonies and folklore that Dixon absorbed during his stay. The image captures the sacred reality of the landscape and its occupation. A solemn procession of men and women led by a Hopi Snake priest holding eagle feather wands walks over the expansive sea of desert. Dixon’s affinity for placing figures at the bottom of the canvas as his use of horizontal lines endows the painting with timeless energy. Remnants of late summer thunderstorms hover in the blue sky, taunting the expectant earth with moisture. Pattern and design permeate the painting with subdued colors adding to the power of the composition.”

PROVENANCE
Private collection, Utah

207

Maynard Dixon

1875 – 1946

Migration, No. 2 (1924)
oil on canvas
20 × 30 inches
25 × 35 × 2 inches (framed)
signed and dated lower left
Sold at Auction: $229,900
Condition ReportSurface is in good condition. Hairline cracks in the mesa, lower-left portion.

Important Notice: Statements of condition are provided as a service to potential bidders; such statements are educated opinions and should not be regarded as facts. The Coeur d’Alene Art Auction has no responsibility for any errors or omissions.