American Modernist Manierre Dawson (1887-1969)
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“Sometime around 1910 – 1911, either Manierre Dawson in America or Wassily Kandinsky in Europe – Depending on your conviction in this matter – First set foot upon the continent of modern abstract or ‘Non-Objective’ Art.”
- Harry Rand, Art in America, 1997
Chicagoan artist Manierre Dawson is America’s Pioneer of Modern Art. By 1908, he developed a personal, avant-garde style that reflected his training as an engineer. By the spring of 1910, Dawson created a series of non-representational paintings that were among the first pure abstractions ever created, slightly predating works byWassily Kandinsky and Arthur Dove. From June to December 1910, Dawson traveled to Europe and met many of the leading figures in the art world, including Gertrude Stein who purchased one of his paintings. In 1913, the celebrated Armory Show, which caused a sensation in New York, traveled to the Art Institute of Chicago. Walter Pach, an esteemed organizer of the show, personally hung one of Dawson’s paintings in the exhibition. Dawson wrote in his journal: ”These are without question the most exciting days of my life”.
Throughout his lifetime, Dawson continued to paint and sculpt in his own revolutionary style. He is represented in numerous public collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago and the Milwaukee Art Museum. In April 2011, The Hollis Taggart Galleries presented a Dawson exhibition to coincide with the highly anticipated publication of The Manierre Dawson Catalogue Raisonné.