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William Lamar Dodd: 1909 – 1996

American Painter and Printmaker, and Educator

Dodd, a distinguished, well-respected art educator is often said to be the most recognized artist of his generation from the state of Georgia. His work ranged from realism to symbolic abstraction. Dodd’s career was centered in the state of Georgia, although his education and some of his painting assignments took him far beyond his home state of Georgia. Dodd visited the Dixie Art Colony in 1947.

After a brief stint at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Dodd taught art in rural Alabama and in 1947 he served as a guest instructor at the Dixie Art Colony. He later realized that he would have to leave the South to advance his training and enrolled at the Art Students League in New York City where his primary teachers were Boardman Robinson and Richard Lahey. He also took private art classes from George Luks, an artist associated with the Ashcan School, an artistic movement in painting, printmaking, and illustration in New York City during the 1900s and 1910s. Dodd was also influenced the teachings of John Steuart Curry and Thomas Hart Benton, both American Scene artists in the 1920s and 1930s.

Dodd’s most visible legacy, the Lamar Dodd School of Art is located at the University of Georgia where he served as a professor and chairman of the UGA art department. As part of a national movement to place working artists into universities, Dodd was appointed to the faculty of the University of Georgia in 1937. Within his first three years at the university, he consolidated all teaching of the visual arts into one department and began enrolling the first graduate students in a master's program. Thanks to Dodd efforts, the art department grew quickly and is today one of the largest, most comprehensive art schools in the United States.

Later in Dodd’s career, he discovered Monhegan Island, off the coast of Maine. Like many other artists of the time, he was inspired by Maine’s grassy-shores and picturesque villages. In the 1950s he began traveling in Europe to study the old masters and his more immediate nineteenth-century predecessors, including Paul Cézanne. Later he served as a cultural emissary for the State Department to the Soviet Union, the Middle East, and Asia. Consequently his palette became brighter, and his brushwork and technique began to take on characteristics of the abstract expressionists. In 1963, Dodd was invited by NASA to document humanity's exploration of space and began work on a series of paintings that required him to adopt a vivid, expressionistic style. Before his death in 1996, Dodd returned to his roots in the American Scene movement.

  • Born: Fairburn, GA on September 22, 1909 Death: Athens, GA on September 26, 1996
  • Best Known For: Abstraction, Simi-Abstraction, Modernism, and Regionalism
  • Methods: Ink, Easel Painting, Oils, Watercolors, Mixed Media, and Charcoal
  • Secondary Education: Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA; LaGrange College, LaGrange, GA; Art Students League, New York, NY 
  • Books: Salmagundi Club Painting Exhibition Records 1940-1951 and Water Color Exhibition Records 1900-1951, 2009; The Artists Bluebook 34,000 North American Artists to March 2005, 2005; Davenport's Art Reference: The Gold Edition, 2005; Modernism in the South: Mid-Twentieth Century Work in Morris, 2002; How to Draw Georgia's Sights and Symbols, 2002; Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975, Three Volumes, 1999; The Art Students League of New York A History, 1999; Nasa & The Exploration of Space: With Works from the Nasa Art Collection, 1999; Lamar Dodd: The C.L. Morehead Jr. Collection 1997; The Truth in Things: The Life and Career of Lamar Dodd, 1996; A Shared Vision: The Life and Art of Lamar Dodd, 1996; Gracious Plenty American Still-Life Art from Southern Collections, 1996; Monhegan The Artists' Island, 1995; American Paintings An Illustrated Catalogue, 1992; A Southern Collection, 1992; Annual Exhibition Record, National Academy of Design: 1901-1950, 1990; The Annual Exhibition Record of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1990; Annual Exhibition Record, 1914-68, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1989; The American Paintings in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, 1989; The American Collections Columbus Museum of Art 1988; The American Painting Collection of the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, 1988; Dictionary of Contemporary American Artists (5th Edition), 1987; Who's Who in American Art-1986 1986, 1986; Who Was Who in American Art: Artists Active Between 1898-1947, 1985; American Paintings from the first half of the 20th century, 1985; The Society of Independent Artists Exhibition Record 1917-1944, 1984; Painting in the South: 1564-1980, 1983; The Art of Healing, Medicine and Science in American Art (Birmingham Museum of Art), 1981; Arts in America/A Bibliography Volume 2 (Painting and Graphics), 1979; The American Painting Collection of the Montclair Art Museum, 1977; The Regionalists, 1976; Who's Who in American Art, 1976 12th Edition, 1976; American Paintings in the High Museum of Art/Bicentenial Catalogue, 1975; The American Scene: American Painting of the 1930s, 1974; Whitney Museum of American Art Catalogue of the Collection, 1974; Grand Central Art Galleries, Inc. 1971 Year Book, 1971; Lamar Dodd A Retrospective Exhibition, 1970; American Painting the 1940s, 1967; Grand Central Art Galleries, Inc. 1965 Year Book, 1965; Profile: Art and Artists in the USA on the Occasion of 4th Congress ..., 1963; The Story of Modern Art, 1958; American Painting Today, 1956; History of the National Academy of Design, 1825-1953,
  • 1954; American Painting Today 1950 A National Competitive Exhibition, 1950; Painting in the USA, 1946; Painters and Sculptors of Modern America, 1942; Through the American Landscape, 1941; Survey of American Painting, 1940; Modern Art in America, 1939; American Painting Today, 1939; Second National Exhibition of American Art Summer 1937, 1937; First National Exhibition of American Art, 1936; Index of Artists: International-Biographical Two Volumes: Includes 1940, 1935; The Savannah, 1951
  • Periodicals: Life Magazine, Sept. 26, 1949. We are currently researching periodicals.
  • Museums: Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover,MA; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; Dixie Art Colony Foundation, Wetumpka, AL; Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA; Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, SC; Lowe Art Museum, Coral Gables, FL ; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Michael C Carlos Museum, Atlanta, GA; Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA; Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL; National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR; Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC; The Canton Museum of Art, Canton, OH; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, GA; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, NY
  • Archived Files: All archived files are password protected and available upon written request. The archive includes original photographs, sketches and examples of Dodd's artwork. Access William Lamar Dodd Files (We are in the process of digitizing our archives. Additional content will be added on a regular basis as it becomes available.)

References: The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art; Ancestry.com; AskArt.com; New Georgia Encyclopedia; Private Papers for the Dixie Art Colony Archives; Private Interviews


 Examples of His Work

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