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 Dawson Dawson-Watson  (1864 - 1939)

About: Dawson Dawson-Watson


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Lived/Active: Missouri/Texas      Known for: landscape and portrait painting, graphics

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BIOGRAPHY for Dawson Dawson-Watson
1864 (London, England)
1939 (San Antonio, Texas)


Self portrait - Self Portrait, 1935

Often Known For
landscape and portrait painting, graphics

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Impressionists Pre 1940
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915
Most Unusual Names
Painters of Grand Canyon
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in London, England, Dawson Dawson-Watson was a landscape, portrait, genre, marine, and mural painter and graphics artist who was the son of a popular English illustrator.  He attended grammar school at Southsea, Hampshire.

His first art teacher was Mark Fisher, with whom he studied in Steyning, England. A wealthy local brewer then sponsored Dawson-Watson's art training in Paris that included classes with Carolus Duran.  While in France, he also studied with Louis-Joseph Raphael Collin and Pierre Paul Leon Glaize.

The artist lived in Giverny, France near the home of Impressionist Claude Monet for five years, 1884 to 1890, and in 1888 married an American women, Mary Hoyt Sellar, who was traveling in Europe.  They came to the United States in 1893 at the encouragement of artist James Carroll Beckwith, and Dawson painted in New England until 1897.   He was hired as director of the Hartford Art Society in Hartford, Connecticut.

In 1897, he returned to England but was not successful at making a living, and he also spent three years in Canada.  Returning to the United States, he taught from 1903 to 1904 at Byrdcliffe Colony, a center for the Artist and Crafts Movement in Woodstock, New York.  This period was followed by teaching for eleven years at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts, serving as art director of a pageant in Brandesville, Missouri, and in 1918, serving a year as director of the San Antonio Art Guild.

In 1926, he settled permanently in San Antonio, encouraged by members of the San Antonio Art League, and he participated in many exhibitions, often winning prizes, including first place ($5,000) at the 1927 Edgar B. Davis Competition.  He also painted the Grand Canyon in Arizona.  Murals include Meditation in the Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio, and The Open Book of Nature at Wichita High School in Kansas.

John and Deborah Powers, Texas Painters, Sculptors, and Graphic Artists
Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art

Biography from Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery:
Dawson Dawson-Watson was born in the rather fashionable London suburb of St. John's Wood to the popular English Illustrator John Dawson-Watson. Enrolling in Diocesan Grammer School in Southsea at the age of eight, Dawson-Watson's progress in his art classes was terrific and, by the age of fourteen, he was so far ahead of the rest of class in painting live models that he branched out into china decoration to keep himself interested.

It was around this time that he met Mark Fisher, an American artist living in the UK. The two became inseparable, and Fisher began teaching Dawson Dawson-Watson the finer points of oil painting. Having shown great promise in local shows, Dawson-Watson was sponsored by a local brewer to train in Paris under Carolus Duran, John Singer Sargent's teacher. Having become quite taken with France, his next stop was Giverny, where he would live the next five years, only a short way from the home of Claude Monet (though Dawson-Watson claimed the two never met).

An American friend convinced Dawson Dawson-Watson to move the United States, and he was hired as the Director of the Hartford Art Society in Connecticut. After four years in the position he quit to return to England, but soon found himself States-bound again and eventually living at Byrdcliffe Colony, a center for the American Arts and Crafts movement. After Byrdcliffe, Dawson-Watson moved to St. Louis, where he taught at the School of Fine Arts for eleven years.

Dawson Dawson-Watson's connection to the West began in St. Louis, where he served as the art director of a pageant in Brandesville Missouri, putting him in contact with wealthy Texans who would eventually persuade him to move to San Antonio. Spurred on by his success in the Edgar B. Davis National Competition, whose $5,000 prize (the largest in the nation at the time) he won three years running, Dawson-Watson branched out in his subject matter and began painting numerous canvases of desert flora, mostly cacti. Cacti led to landscapes and landscapes, eventually, brought him to the Grand Canyon, the subject of many of his best late works.

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