Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Image: 68 x 68 3/4 inches (172.7 x 174.6 cm)
Gift of Esther Hoyt Sawyer in memory of her father, William Ballard Hoyt, Class of 1881 and trustee of Cornell, 1895–1900
Dickinson was born in Seneca Falls, New York, and studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and at the Art Students League in New York City. Although he had his first solo show at the Albright Art Gallery in Buffalo in 1927, he did not reach a wide audience until a 1952 group show entitled "15 Americans" at the Museum of Modern Art. In that exhibition, which included "Woodland Scene," Dickinson was shown with artists such as Jackson Pollock, Clyfford Still, and Mark Rothko.
Dickinson produced only a few large paintings, like Woodland Scene, that conveyed the full range of his highly personal and yet evocative symbolism. The dark palette and passive, erotic figures create not only a sense of strangeness but also psychological power. The result is perhaps due to the synthesis of the many movements Dickinson lived through, from Romanticism to Cubism and Surrealism. One should not, however, underestimate the influence of El Greco, whose work he saw and greatly admired while in Europe in 1919, and about whom he wrote in a letter to Elaine de Kooning: “After I saw the 'Burial of Count Orgaz,' I knew where my aspirations lay.” (From “A Handbook of the Collection: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art," 1998)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.