James Dixon (1887-1970) ‘The Steamer Wheat’, 1967

Oil on board
55 x 75cm 

Irish landscape artist James Dixon (1887-1970) was a native of Tory Island (Co. Donegal), he enjoyed a simple life of fishing and farming, and was introduced to painting late in life by Derek Hill in 1959 when he visited the island. A virtually self taught artist who was perhaps excluded from the influence of historical precedents due to the remote nature of his home, Dixon was supplied paints and paper by Hill, but reportedly refused paint brushes as he preferred to make his own from donkey hair.

His naive style was appreciated and he had his first solo show at the New Gallery in Belfast, followed by one at the Dawson Gallery in Dublin in 1967, one at the Autodidakt Gallery the following year in Vienna, and another at the Portal Gallery in London. Following his death his work was included in ROSC ’80, and a joint show with the St. Ives painter Alfred Wallis (1855-1942) was held at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and at Tate St. Ives (1999-2000). His work is now a part of major collections and can be found in the Ulster Museum, the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, The Arts Council Collection and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.