Tower of Gold, 1915
Oil and gold leaf on canvas mounted on board
10 x 14 inches
Signed lower right
Known for his precisionist paintings of architectural subjects, especially industrial scenes, Dickinson was a native of New York who studied at the Art Students League with George Bellows. He lived in Paris from 1915 to 1919, where he was much influenced by Cubism and the work of Paul Cézanne. Returning to New York, he showed at the Daniel Gallery. A constant traveler, he returned to Europe in 1930, hoping to live there, but died of pneumonia.
Tower of Gold, with its human figures, is unusual in an oeuvre usually focused on buildings, bridges, and streetscapes. “Based in the political and social unrest of the period,” wrote scholar Ruth Cloudman, “Tower of Gold is a forthright statement of its creator’s radical sympathies with labor’s increasingly militant struggle for reform against the corruption and power of big business…. Its theme of capitalism’s exploitation of the working man unfolds in a complex of scenes in which business-suited capitalists oversee laborers in overalls.”