Artwork of the Week: September 29, 2019
Maynard Dixon (1875-1946), Roadside, 1938, oil on canvas, 30 1/4 x 40 1/4 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, 1974.
A homeless man making his way across the desert prepares to bed down for the night at the side of a road, his meager possessions rolled in a bundle beside a small fire. The sense of loneliness and destitution is relieved somewhat by the beauty of the night—the brilliant moon lights the desert landscape and lines the clouds with bands of silver. The campfire is beautifully painted, glowing against the cool, dark colors of the night.
As Dixon and his wife, photographer Dorothea Lange, drove toward their home in San Francisco in 1932 after several months in New Mexico, they were astonished at the many ragged men wandering the highways looking for work. The image of these hopeless men stayed with Dixon and provided subjects for paintings like this one over the next few years.