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Edwin W. Dickinson

Edwin W. Dickinson


Edwin W. Dickinson was a painter born in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1891. He moved with his family to Buffalo in 1897 when his father, a minister, was called to the North Presbyterian Church in the city. Dickinson attended the State Normal and Training School in Buffalo in 1904, and then went on to study at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn (1910), The National Academy of Design (1911), Art Students League of New York (1911-1912), the Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown (1912-1914), and the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy (1913).

Known as a painter’s painter, Dickinson painted in divergent styles. In winter he created large, dark, dreamlike hallucinations with bizarre spatial shifts. These works often contained figures modeled after his friends and family. In summer he painted quickly executed “premiers coups” of the atmospheric effects on land and sea. His works are in the collections of the Buffalo AKG Art Museum, the Burchfield Penney Art Center, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others, and in a number of private collections.

Dickinson was an instructor at the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy (1916) and was a member of the Art Institute of Buffalo faculty who taught a special ten-week course in life drawing and painting in 1939. He also taught at the Art Students League of New York (1922-23, 1945-1966) and was among the faculty at The Cooper Union in New York (1945-49), Art School of the Brooklyn Museum (1949-58), Pratt Institute (1950-51), and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Massachusetts (1956 and 1958).

Dickinson enjoyed the friendship and support of Esther Hoyt Sawyer, whom he had met while studying at the Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She and her husband Ansley W. Sawyer became important patrons and supported him whenever he visited Buffalo to teach or paint.