Maynard Dixon grew up in Fresno, California, located in the midst of the wide plains of the San Joaquin Valley. Dixon's artistic ideals were swayed by the wide open spaces and strong horizontal lines of the landscape. "No doubt," he once reflected, "these flat scenes have influenced my work, I don't like to psychoanalyze myself, but I have always held my boyhood impressions are responsible for my weakness for horizontal lines." (D.J. Hagerty, Desert Dreams: The Art and Life of Maynard Dixon, Layton, Utah, 1993, p. 5)
Desert Mesa depicts the freedom and space that Maynard Dixon cherished throughout his life and reflects the dramatic western landscape in his own unique modern aesthetic. Dixon portrays the broad horizon and dramatic buttes in the far distance, revealing a remote and untouched land. The landscape is countered with the graceful motion of high billowing clouds that signal a brewing desert storm. The spirit and character of the scene is expressed through the artist's use of broad brushstrokes and bright palette providing a dramatic effect.
Maynard Dixon's portrayal of the American West reflects his own attitudes and artistic imagination, which served to bring current contemporary art movements to a new level. Throughout his long and prolific career, Dixon believed deeply in self-expression and pursued art for its own sake. "He was not interested in the sanctity of the art of painting itself. Rather he reached for a personal, even idiosyncratic, vision in his art, through the visible world. His art was a process of organic formula or rule." (Desert Dreams, p. XXIV) An individual who personally shunned formal academic training because of its confining structure, Dixon created his own unique vision of the great West and has left a profound and authentic record of the American West.
A photograph of the artist painting the present work accompanies the lot.