Object Image

Manierre Dawson's training in mathematics and architecture inspired works such as Blue Complex, which is composed of building-like structures, angles, and curves. The towering gray shapes suggest a futuristic cityscape of steel and concrete that was probably inspired by the skyline of Chicago. Dawson was one of the first American artists to create abstract images, which he described as "arbitrarily constructed paintings of arranged figures." He often began with recognizable images, such as people or landscapes, then fragmented the forms to create two-dimensional patterns. (Adams and Ploog, Manierre Dawson: American Pioneer of Abstract Art, 1999)

Credit: Gift of Mrs. Manierre Dawson...

1912
Oil on paperboard mounted on wood
45.7 x 55.3cm
1970.102
Image and text: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2024

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