William Preston Dickinson (American,
1889 - 1930)
Still Life with Eggplant, about 1924, pastel
Partial and promised gift, anonymous Louisville collection
William Preston Dickinson earned a reputation as one
of the greatest American virtuosos of the pastel medium.
He was known for a sumptuous color palette that was
compared to dyed silk. In this still life, Dickinson’s
application of pastel ranges from dense velvety smudges
to the faintest traces of color. The tilted tabletop
and patterned background disrupt an orderly sense of
space and echo Cézanne’s influence. He
studied at the Art Students League in New York City
and later at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
While in Paris he was exposed to Japanese prints, and
became familiar with the work of European artists who
greatly influenced his work. Dickinson was a prolific
artist who, upon his return to New York, became an important
influence on early American Modernism.