Born in Fresno, California, Maynard Dixon was largely self-taught as an artist. His first sketches were of the Western landscape. In 1893 he attended the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in San Francisco, but withdrew after only three months. That same year his first illustrations for the Overland Monthly appeared, beginning a long association with that periodical.
For the next fifty years Dixon traveled and lived throughout the American West. His illustrations of the people, landscape, and lifestyle of this region won him an enduring place in the history of Western artists. In 1920 Dixon married the noted documentary photographer Dorothea Lange. Her unique vision was certainly an important influence on the development of his own realistic approach. Aside from his magazine illustrations, Dixon worked prolifically in other media, illustrating novels, painting murals in several cities, and even writing poetry.
Therese Thau Heyman Posters American Style (New York and Washington, D.C.: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., in association with the National Museum of American Art, 1998)