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 Frank Joseph J Dillon  (1865 - 1954)

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Lived/Active: Michigan/New Jersey      Known for: still life, cityscape and landscape painting, stained glass

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Ad Code: 4
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from Auction House Records.
Mother with Three Children
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Fuller's Fine Art Auctions:
Frank J. Dillon was born in Mt. Holly New Jersey in 1865.  He studied at St. Augustine College in Raleigh, North Carolina, and continued his studies at Oberlin College until 1889.  Later he studied at the Art Students League in New York as well as the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art, which is now known as the University of the Arts. 

He began his career as a designer working for the Hirst Smyrna Rug Company, and then as a stained glass designer for Oesterle Glassworks and Marcus Glassworks located in Philadelphia.  It was during this period that Dillon’s paintings began to gain recognition.

After thirty years of working as a glass designer, Dillon retired and dedicated himself to painting.  In 1929, his work came to gain further recognition, and he began to exhibit with the Harmon Foundation where he exhibited in 1929, and in 1933, receiving an Honorable Mention.  In 1929 his work was also displayed at the Smithsonian Institute.  Dillon continued to exhibit through the Harmon Foundation in their sponsored exhibits at the New Jersey State Museum in 1935, with the College Art Association from 1934-1935, and at Dillard University in 1938.

In 1933 his work was shown at the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library, and he participated in the Texas Centennial in 1936.  His work was also shown at the Library of Congress from 1940-1941, a few years before he died in 1954.  Most recently, the Indianapolis Museum of Art included one of Dillon’s paintings in an exhibit about the influence of African American art on artists who were painting during the Harlem Renaissance in 2006.

Dillon is known for his paintings of landscapes, cityscapes and still lives, and for the stained glass window that he designed for the St. Augustine College, which has remained on display.  Dillon is considered to be an influential African-American Artist of the 20th century.

Afro-American Artists, Cederholm, Theresa Dickinson, Boston Public Library, 1973.

Against the Odds: African-American Artists and the Harmon Foundation, Reynolds, Gary A. and Wright, Beryl J., The Newark Museum, New Jersey, 1989.

Biography submitted by Anne Brye

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