Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West Launches Exclusive Maynard Dixon Exhibition, World’s Most Comprehensive Retrospective Showcasing Dixon’s Life, Artistic Career

  • SCOTTSDALE, Arizona
  • /
  • October 15, 2019

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Maynard Dixon, Earth Knower, 1934, oil on canvas; collection of the Oakland Museum of California. Gift of Dr. Abilio Reis.

Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West (SMoW) has announced an exclusive exhibition featuring more than 250 artworks from iconic Western artist, Maynard Dixon (1875-1946) – the world’s most comprehensive retrospective exhibition to date showcasing Maynard Dixon’s lifework and artistic career. 

The exclusive-to-SMoW show, which opens today and runs through Aug. 2, 2020, is co-curated by Dr. Tricia Loscher, Assistant Director – Collections, Exhibitions and Research at SMoW, and Dr. Mark Sublette, author of just-published 525-page masterpiece book, Maynard Dixon’s American West, Along the Distant Mesa, a companion piece to the exhibition, and founder of the Maynard Dixon Museum and the Medicine Man Gallery in Tucson.

The more than 250 artworks will be featured in this landmark exhibition, as well as a large selection of historically significant studies, rare ephemera, photographs and personal objects including a re-creation of Dixon’s studio and his easel from which he painted all his studio paintings. 

Many important private collections and major institutions have loaned artwork and objects in support of this ground-breaking exhibition including the Phoenix Art Museum, The Oakland Museum of Art, Brigham Young University and the Smithsonian Institution. Iconic pieces in the exhibition include Earth Knower, Shapes of Fear, Home of the Desert Rat, Watchers of the Housetops, Pickets and Kit Carson with Mountain Men -- a large mural that typically graces the SMoW lobby space and is on loan from SMoW Board of Trustee Tim Peterson and his wife Elaine. As well, the renowned piece, Cloud World (1925), will be a focal artwork in the exhibition, on loan from Adrienne Ruger Conzelman, along with the entire Abe Hays Family Maynard Dixon Collection.

Maynard Dixon, Cloud World, 1925, oil on canvas; Courtesy of Adrienne Ruger Conzelman.

“We are thrilled to be the institution able to launch this first-ever retrospective of one of the greatest Western artists of all time, Maynard Dixon, which was only made possible with the support of so many people, including the private art loaners Adrienne Ruger Conzelman, Tim Peterson and Abe Hays, along with the many renowned institutions that joined us in this premier Dixon showcase and our generous sponsors,” said Mike Fox, Director and CEO of SMoW. “This show is truly aligned with our aim to help guests ‘See the West from a Whole New Perspective,’ as they tour this landmark exhibition and immerse themselves in Dixon’s ‘American West’ featuring his modern and independent view of the region.”

About Maynard Dixon’s American West Exhibition

Dixon thrived in the raw beauty and remoteness of the Western landscape and its diverse cultures, and his iconic interpretations of this land and time form the backbone of the exhibition.  Illustrating the artist’s range beyond the canvas, SMoW is honored to also display poetry composed by the artist, and custom furniture decorated by Dixon for philanthropist and art collector Anita Baldwin’s 1913 California estate – broadening guests’ appreciation of Dixon’s deep sense of place in the West.

Important artwork by well-known artists, Dorothea Lange and Edith Hamlin, who were both Dixon’s wives and companions, will also be featured in the exhibition to add further storytelling perspectives about Dixon’s life. Examples include Edith Hamlin’s portrait titled, Maynard Dixon, Painter of the Desert (1940), and Dorothea Lange’s photograph, A Shack in Little Oklahoma, along with photographic contact print portraits and family photos.  Also included are artworks by nine contemporary artists who were inspired by Dixon.

Exhibition Sponsors

The exclusive, nearly 10-month exhibition is sponsored by the City of Scottsdale and its Tourism Development Commission, Orme Lewis & Family SMoW Library/Learning Center, Elaine & Tim Peterson, Scottsdale Art Auction, SRP, True West magazine and Wells Fargo. 

About Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West (SMoW)
Since its opening in Jan. 2015, SMoW has become a Smithsonian Affiliate organization. The museum is also a recipient of the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, enjoys a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on TripAdvisor and Yelp and is recognized as the “Nation’s Best Western Museum” (2019 Editors’ Choice, True West magazine). SMoW features regularly changing and permanent exhibits of Western and Native American art and artifacts, entertaining events and informative programs that bring the West’s heritage, culture and community to life. Permanent exhibitions continuously on display include Canvas of Clay: Hopi Pottery Masterworks from The Allan and Judith Cooke Collection, which features 65 of the finest examples of Hopi pottery spanning six centuries, and The Abe Hays Family Spirit of the West Collection, a showcase of more than 1,400 saddles, spurs, cowboy gear and other Old West objects. 

Featured Collections include: Alper Bronze John Coleman Collection; Cooke Hopi Pottery Collection; Hays Legendary Cowboy Collection; Peterson Early and Contemporary Western Art Collection; and Strickland Golden West Poster Collection. 

Buildings and Campus 
SMoW is owned by the City of Scottsdale and the museum is managed by Scottsdale Museum of the West, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. It features an award-winning 43,000-square-foot, two-story building designed by Phoenix-based architectural firm Studio Ma. The museum campus was designed by landscape architect Colwell Shelor of Phoenix and features low water-use desert plantings. Both indoor and outdoor spaces are certified as LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold, conserving precious natural resources, while raising public awareness of their vital importance to the Western region.

SMoW also features the beautiful outdoor Christine and Ted Mollring Sculpture Courtyard with a rotating selection of sculptures. The 135-seat Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Theater/Auditorium hosts performances, special programs and events. The Sue and Robert Karatz Museum Store offers a rare and wide selection of Western-themed art and gifts. “Spirit Is” is an exclusive 10-minute must-see film shown on the hour at the museum that captures the spirit of the West.

Museum Hours 
Tues., Wed., Fri., Sat.: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Thursday: 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. (November-April) & 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (May-October)
Sunday: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Closed Monday

Admission Prices
Adults: $15
Seniors (65+) and Active Military: $13
Students (Full-time with ID) and Children (6-17 years): $8 
Members and Children 5 and under: FREE

Groups of 15 or more receive a discounted rate: Adults $12; Children/Students $5 (must make single payment)

Thursdays, November-April, Scottsdale residents with proof of residence (e.g., driver’s license, utility bill) receive FREE museum admission.

3830 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

SMoW is located in Old Town Scottsdale, one block west of Scottsdale Road at First Street. The museum is readily accessible from throughout the metro Phoenix area and is within easy walking distance of numerous art galleries, retail stores and restaurants. Day-long, come-and-go admission allows guests to tour SMoW, have a bite to eat in a local Old Town restaurant and return for more viewing.

General Contact: 

Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West
3830 N. Marshall Way
Scottsdale, Arizona
About Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West

Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West celebrates the art, history, and unique stories of the 19 states of the American West. It features hundreds of historical and contemporary paintings and sculptures by a wide range of artists, plus ongoing exhibitions of authentic Old West artifacts. The museum opened in January 2015 in downtown Scottsdale, Arizona.

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