C.A. Seward

1884 - 1939

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William “Bill” Dickerson, 1904 - 1972

The Regionalist Vision of William Dickerson

Bill North, editor with essays by Charles C. Eldredge, Keith Jacobshagen, Oscar Larmer, Patric Rowley, David Salle and Liz Seaton

The Mariana Kistler Beach Museum of Art, Kansas State University, 1997

William Dickerson, became a lifelong friend and much like a surrogate son for Seward. Dickerson grew up in Wichita and by the time he was in high school he found a part time job working for Seward at Western Lithograph. With the financial assistance

of Seward and Ed Davison, Dickerson attended the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1929, at Seward’s urging Dickerson attended Bolton Brown’s lectures on lithography. Brown had come to the Institute to serve as one of the guest lecturers for the Scammon sponsored series on printmaking. When Brown returned in 1930 to the Art Institute to conduct lithography classes, he chose Dickerson to fill the role of class monitor.

When Brown departed Dickerson was offered the position as the lithography

instructor at the Institute. He chose not to accept the position but instead returned to

Wichita when Seward created a position for him as an instructor at the Wichita Art

Association. Dickerson remained with the Art Association until his retirement in

1971.


The ongoing efforts of Dickerson and his wife, Betty, enabled the Association to expand its classes, make the move in 1944 to its own quarters separate from the Wichita Art Museum, and then in 1965 to the new facility on East Central. Dickerson continued the block print exhibitions that Seward had initiated in 1928. Through the Dickerson’s efforts an annual Decorative Arts Exhibition was initiated. Like the annual print exhibition this show brought the Art Association and Wichita into the national spotlight.


The Dickerson’s resided on Martinson Lane and their home and backyard studio served as the first printmaking studio for the Art Association classes and as the informal gathering place for Wichita based and visiting artists. B.J.O.Nordfeldt developed a long and enduring friendship with Dickerson and his family. Dickerson’s young sons grew up calling Nordfeldt “Uncle Norde.” At one point Nordfeldt lived with the Dickersons for a few months and was listed as the guest artist in residence (at no fee) at the Wichita Art Association.


Dickerson’s first efforts as a print maker began in 1926 with his block prints. These studies continued through 1929 when he began devoting all of his printmaking efforts towards lithographs. Records indicate that between 1930 and 1971 he created over one-hundred-twenty-five lithographs. For Dickerson lithography was always second to his

work as a painter. His lithographs do reflect the influence of Brown as well as Dickerson’s interest in capturing the familiar landscape of Kansas and New Mexico. His lithograph, “Church at Canyoncito”, was printed by Dickerson in an edition of two-hundred as the 1942 Gift Print for the Prairie Print Makers.


Images on this page (top to bottom, left to right): Wheat Elevator (Legends Fine Art), Road to the Canyon, Church at Canyoncito, Spring 1942

© 2010 copyright www.caseward printmaker.com

CA Seward and the Prairie Print Makers

Seeking information on the prints, life and work of William Dickerson for a forthcoming catalog and exhibition scheduled for 2017 at the Wichita Art Museum.

Please contact Barbara Thompson, bthomdes@gmail.

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