James Budd Dixon Biography

James Budd Dixon




James Budd Dixon, painter, printmaker and teacher, was born in San Francisco, California on November 26, 1900. He studied at the University of California at Berkeley from 1920 to 1923, and at the California School of Fine Art (CSFA) between 1923 and 1929. After World War II, Dixon returned to San Francisco and entered the CSFA under the GI Bill. At the time, the CSFA was becoming one of the most progressive and exciting art schools in the country and by the end of 1946 Richard Diebenkorn, Frank Lobdell, Walter Kuhlman, John Hultberg, George Stillmann, and Dixon were students there.

With the exception of Stillman and Dixon, the artists had studios in the artist colony Sausalito, a picturesque waterfront village located along Richardson Bay and connected to San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge. These artists painted in the Abstract Expressionist style and in 1948 they were known as The Sausalito Six. The group showed at the Seashore Gallery of Modern Art in Sausalito and their fundraising efforts for the gallery resulted in Drawings, a portfolio of seventeen abstract expressionist lithographs, printed offset by Eric T. Ledin in Mill Valley. The lithographs were slipped inside a black construction paper cover with a printed label. Their efforts were too little and too late to save the gallery but the portfolio is historically significant as it was the first Abstract Expressionist portfolio created in the United States. The six exhibited together for two years until they disbanded to scatter in various directions.

Dixon taught at the California School of Fine Art between 1947 and 1967 and among his students were Sonia Gechtoff, Bryon McClintock, and Robert S. Neuman. Dixon taught a course in lithography and it is recorded that both Gechtoff and McClintock took the class. He exhibited primarily on the West Coast and his works are represented in the collections of the Oakland Museum of California, Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the British Museum, the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum, and the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco.

James Budd Dixon died in San Francisco on December 1, 1967.