James Budd Dixon Biography

James Budd Dixon





James Budd Dixon, painter, printmaker and teacher, was born in San Francisco, California on 26 November 1900. He was raised on his father’s farm in the San Joaquin Valley near Stockton. Dixon studied at the University of California at Berkeley from 1920 to 1923, and at the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA) between 1923 and 1929.

His illustration work of the early 1920s was based upon the Art Nouveau style but in the early 1930s he was painting watercolors of northern California. Dixon worked on the Federal Art Project Works Progress Administration in San Francisco with sculptor Benjamino Bufano. In the 1940s, his work was sporadically included in the annual exhibitions of the San Francisco Art Association. His first solo exhibition was at the San Francisco Museum of Art.

During World War II, Dixon worked as a shipyard draftsman at Bethlehem Steel in San Francisco and later served in an Oakland Army cargo planning unit. After the war, Dixon returned to the SCFA in 1948 as a G.I. Bill student. He associated with the older artists/students [Richard Diebenkorn, Frank Lobdell, Walther Kuhlman, John Hultberg, and George Stillman] and they were later termed The Sausalito Six as most had studios in a repurposed military building near Sausalito’s waterfront. These artists showed together and assembled a portfolio of offset lithographs for the seminal Abstract Expressionist portfolio, Drawings. Dixon’s contribution was two offset lithographs. In the summer of 1948, he worked with Stanley William Hayter at SCFA in intaglio printing and later worked in stone lithography.

In 1949, Dixon joined the SCFA’s faculty as a printmaking instructor; he conducted his classes more as an overseer creating an atmosphere that allowed for experimentation. He did influence another generation of artists studying at the SCFA, including Roy de Forest, Sonia Gechtoff, David Simpson, Deborah Remington, and Julius Wasserstein.

Dixon continued to paint and taught painting at the San Francisco Art Institute (formerly the SCFA) from 1961 to 1965. His work was included in exhibitions nationally as well as in Europe and Japan. James Budd Dixon is represented in the collections of the University of California Irvine, Institute and Museum of California Art; the British Museum, London; the Metropolitan Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Oakland Museum of California; the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco; the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.

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