Theme/Style – Impressionism, California Regionalism, Social Realism, figurative art, landscapes, portraits
Media – Oils, murals
Artistic Focus – Ross Dickinson spent much of his career visually celebrating the land where he was born. His California landscapes were described by journalist and artist John Gamble as “thoroughly Californian but…California expressed in an individual manner.” In addition to his noted landscape paintings, Dickinson also excelled at depicting life during the Depression, as typified in his well known work, Box Lunch, depicting a female factory worker on a lunch break in a desolate but urban downtown Los Angeles.
Career Highlights –
- Interested in art from childhood, Dickinson sold his first painting at age 15 for 75 cents – dreaming at the time that he might one day sell others for as much as $75.
- He completed the art curriculum at Polytechnic High School in Los Angeles, and received a scholarship to the new Chouinard School of Art in Los Angeles. There, he learned a flat, decorative style that lent itself well both to his oil paintings and to the murals he later would paint as a Public Works of Art Project employee during the Depression.
- After studying for a time in New York City, Dickinson returned to California, where his work – which featured blocky, almost impressionistic brush strokes and a thick impasto – quickly gained respect.
- As one author remarked, his work demonstrated “a reverence for the unsullied beauty of California…an unsentimental, yet highly evocative vision of the countryside he loved.”
Bibliographic references are available upon request.