DescriptionMaynard Dixon (American, 1875-1946)
Road to Nowhere, Indian Springs, Nevada, 1934
Oil on board
9-3/4 x 13-3/4 inches (24.8 x 34.9 cm)
Initialed, dated, and inscribed lower left: MD / Indian Sprs Nev / Apr 1934
Signed and titled on the reverse: Road to Nowhere / Maynard Dixon
"In April, 1934, Maynard Dixon departed for southern Nevada, hired by the Public Works of Art Project to document the construction activities that had been underway for three years at Boulder Dam. On the way he encountered a scene near Indian Springs, north of Las Vegas, Nevada that prompted him to paint Road to Nowhere.
"Two figures on a lonely desert road trudge toward an unknowable and unseen destination, unsure where the road might lead. Perhaps they were on their way to seek employment at Boulder Dam or perhaps migrants fleeing the ravages of the Dust Bowl, walking toward California and a more hopeful future. In the painting they are temporary inhabitants of an inhospitable environment. This painting is one of the first, if not the first, to reflect Dixon's concept of the 'road to nowhere,' tracks that run to the horizon or no place in particular. By the middle 1930s, numerous roads crisscrossed the West's arid landscapes like spider webs as people probed remote regions with increasing frequency. These roads became imbedded in a number of Dixon's later paintings and highlighted the sense of desolation and isolation that could be found in parts of the arid West.
"For Dixon, this painting probably prompted questions; will the road prove the right path, an escape, or might it lead the two men further into the terrors of the Depression? Stirred by his social conscience, he would portray the men in only a generalized fashion, utilizing elements that would enhance the visual impact and contribute dynamics to the composition. This painting vibrates with Dixon's affinity for the connection between the natural landscape and the inhabitants of the West."
We are grateful to Donald J. Hagerty for his expertise and gracious assistance in cataloging this painting.
Work may benefit from a light cleaning; under UV exam, there appears to be no previous restoration. Framed Dimensions 16.5 X 20.5 X 1.5 Inches
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