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La Revue Moderne

15 Janvier 1937 (15 January 1937)

Translation of page(s) Pages 7 and 8

An artist doubled with an apostle ... The artist first: humble beginnings: John Dixon studied at the Public School of Hereford and worked in the evening at the School of Art that depends on it. Leaving the school, he goes to Manchester and works at the Sheffield School of Fine Arts. But the best of his technique, it must be said, is in himself that he draws and that explains the personality of his talent.

His art studies completed, he went to the North of England and for a few years carried out portraits, But it is still, for him, a hobby, an occupation for his rare hours of leisure, because for To ensure his material life he must work with his father.

As he gains more freedom, he increases the time he can devote to art, to his great joy, because art has always been, for him, a priesthood. He sees, he himself said, "the best method of developing the faculty of concentration". We shall see later that he has become the zealous and devoted propagator of this noble theory.

John Dixon, from that moment, produced in all artistic branches: painting, watercolor, pastel, gouache, engraving. He first paints landscapes and scenes of peaceful life, then flowers, and most recently maternities. These include his beautiful painting Mète en Enfant which was featured at the last exhibition of the Cardiff Society of Arts, and is a work of real quality. In the words of Edmond de Goncourt, this is "psychological" painting in that it not only reflects a subject and attitudes but also evokes the very instinct of motherhood. In a very different technique, less nebulous, less idealistic, it recalls, by its intensity of expression, some paintings of Eugene Carrière.

John Dixon is essentially a painter of thought. By this I mean that he despises - with good reason - the photographic painting, if we can say, this painting which is limited to reproducing a figure, a scene with the precision of a Kodak lens without trying to analyze it. blade. For him, a painting must always ask and solve a problem and this research is the basis of his personality, always very strong.

It suffices, moreover, to understand this orientation of his artistic conception, to enumerate the artists to whom he bears the greatest interest. Among the elders: Giotto, Botticelli, El Greco, Rembrandt, Daumier, Millet, Gainsborough, Cotman. Among the contemporaries: Cézanne, Van Gogh, Picasso, Derain. In a word, all those who really suck creators and interpreters of their favorite subjects by closely uniting the search for a thought.

John Dixon's artistic career is already busy. He has exhibited in Liverpool, the Royal Cambrain Academy Art Gallery, Wales Society of Cardiff, the Newport Art Gallery and many other provincial shows. His amition is to make London a special exhibition of his works.

I just talked about the artist. But a biography of John Dixon, however short, would be incomplete if one neglected to say a few words about his work as an apostle.

I apologize for repeating the word, but it is indeed, an apostolate that the creation made by him of his School for the Elementary Teaching of Art in Abeetillery. It is essentially a popular school at night. Students? Largely unemployed miners, therefore a frustrated environment, seemingly unfamiliar with artistic issues and among which John Dixon came to bear the good word and preach - by example - the love of art. Success has exceeded its hopes or at least the hopes allowed. "We are surprised," he says, "to see the number of unknown talents that are revealed. The people are much more than is generally believed to be beautiful things. He is interested in art not only because he appreciates beauties, but also because it gives him an unknown pleasure and as an exercise that tends to develop his imagination.

This struggle against apathy, discouragement, lassitude. John Dixon completed it. Each year, the Salon of the Abeetillery Technical School Art Class groups about three hundred paintings, drawings, engravings and it would be a grave mistake to believe that there are not among these shipments works of real merit.

We must pay tribute to John Dixon, who was both the promoter and host of this folk art center.

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La Revue Moderne

30 Janvier 1938 (30 January 1938)

Translation of page(s) page 31 John Dixon

Between the amateurs and the professionals, it is necessary to place an intermediate class which includes artists whose general culture, and whose tight and conscientious technique relates them rather to the second category.

In this vein, we must recognize that John Dixon belongs perfectly to this selection of artists who do not profess, but who possess all the serious qualities of professionals. His important production even gives his work an undeniable pedagogical character.

The sending of John Dixon to this exhibition included on the one hand oil paintings and on the other hand chalk drawings.

In the first, like Nude Rhythm and Evening on the Beach, we admire the eclectic sense of adaptation of this artist. Through a very fine sense of observation and a thorough knowledge of the plastic, he succeeds in making us share the emotion and the feelings that the subject inspired him.

Our preference, with no detour, attaches however to chalk drawings, being part of this important participation. The technique of John Dixon is also very eclectic: oil painting, watercolor, chalk drawing have in turn tempted. If he has revealed himself to us at this exhibition in this last way, we must not forget his watercolors which I have already mentioned on another occasion.

John Dixon, from the first, pleases with the very clear and at the same time very alive of his portraits and that of himself in particular. It is a real challenge to try the portrait with watercolor. The retouches are difficult, they weigh down the whole and, in general, compromise the serenity of the model. John Dixon has escaped this pitfall, with sober touches, very cleverly selected that make his watercolors breathe this air of ease that helps us to increase the charm. It is therefore with pleasure that we would see John Dixon extend his experiments in this direction.

John Dixon will certainly succeed in producing works of a racy character and a real plastic beauty.

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La Revue Moderne

30 Décembre 1938 (30 December 1938)

Translation of page(s) pages 21 and 22

J. Dixon

In choosing watercolor as a mode of expression, I believe that J. Dixon followed a sentiment which, for him, was natural, for his landscapes possess that dexterity and liveliness which make him the main charm.

For him a landscape is not a banal site that serves as a pretext for harmonious contrasts, it is rather a way to tell us the impression he feels in front of a show of character. But the characters are diverse. Their variety appears to us in the examination of the five aquarelles which mark the participation of this artist in the Cardiff Salon.

To fix our precedence between Tenby, Near Clyths, Llangynidr, Curntillery lake, or On the Yorkshire Wolds is rather difficult, but, moreover, not very useful fortunately. Let it be known and this is the main interest in art, which the artist has been able to grasp in each particular case the topical trait that was best used for the reconstruction of the atmosphere. So as I said, each watercolor has its distinctive character, which avoids the impression of monotony that parricipation as important could have caused fear.

But I must however point out to J. Dixon who knows how to play reinforcement resources and who knows how to harmonize their contrasts, that it does not always attach enough importance to the composition. It is true that this is unusual. However that may be, more balance would undoubtedly accentuate the harmony of the whole and make each work a true painting as we like to see them well and deeply studied. This is the direction to which this artist's efforts must be directed.

Chepstow painting by J. Dixon

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La Revue Moderne

15 – 30 Août 1939 (15 – 30 August 1939)

Translation of page(s) Pages 12 and 13

John Dixon

I found in Conway John Dixon whose previous works were deeply interested.

His two landscapes: Chepstow Meadows and On Caerphilly Mountain respond to my first impressions.

These are works that prove that not only can this artist paint, but express originally what chance has offered him.

They attest an honest profession, without exaggeration, and much more objective than subjective.

I have tasted the logical and solid profession of John Dixon, more attached to the face than to the soul of things, but whose expression reveals a balanced temperament and a healthy attitudinal conception.

This painter is not only a conscientious artist and enthusiastic about his art, he is also a cultivated spirit who is interested in the beauties of nature, of which he interprets the most humble aspects by reviving them with fidelity by just notations.

"Pres Chepstow" Landscape by John Dixon

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