Manierre Dawson: A Journey to Abstraction

December 6, 2016 to March 13, 2017

When searching through art history text books on the subject of inventing modern abstraction, it is unlikely that you will find the name Manierre Dawson (1887-1969). When it comes to who made the first totally non-representational paintings, you will find familiar names like Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian and Arthur Dove. But recent scholarship contends that Dawson, a little known artist from Chicago, took his own journey to non-objective painting, and may even have arrived there shortly before these other famous artists.

Manierre Dawson: A Journey to Abstraction exhibits of 16 original oil paintings and tells the story of how a Midwest artist, trained as an architectural engineer, with virtually no direct contact with his early 20th century European and American Avant-Garde counterparts, independently arrived at the same artistic destination. Visitors will be able to see some of the earliest examples of Dawson’s abstracting tendencies, where naïve-looking figures inhabit flattened, simplified landscapes. The exhibition will show Dawson’s journey to pure abstraction and some of the stops along the way that shaped his innovative artistic vision and defined his life. Discover some of the reasons why—in the end—he is not as well known.

This exhibition is located in the Temporary/Permanent Gallery which features temporary exhibitions from the Museum’s permanent collections.

"Hercules" Manierre Dawson
  • "Hercules" Manierre Dawson
  • "Figure by the Window" Manierre Dawson
  • "Adam and Eve" Manierre Dawson

Contact: 

Robert Sill, Robert.Sill@illinois.gov
Visitor Information
502 South Spring Street
Springfield
(217) 782-7386

Museum: Mon-Sat: 9-4:30, Sun: 12-4:30
Mary Ann MacLean Play Museum: Mon-Sat: 10-4, Sun: 1-4:30
All Facilities Closed: New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.