Indian Blanket

  • Biography

    Otis Dozier (1904 - 1987)

    Otis Marion Dozier is noted as a member of a group of Texas regionalist artists known as the "Dallas Nine". His style was characterized by brilliant colors and strong forms, often focusing on the plight of farmers affected by the Great Depression.

    Dozier was born in Forney, Texas in 1904. Raised on a farm in Mesquite, Texas with three siblings, his surroundings provided the materials that allowed him to cultivate a love for nature and wildlife. He once said, "youve got to start from where you are and hope to get to the universal." His surroundings became a primary focus for subject matter in his art. Other areas providing inspiration for his works would include the Big Bend and Gulf Coast areas of Texas, the Four Corners area of New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, and the bayous and swamps of Louisiana. His earliest art training was in Dallas from Vivian Aunspaugh, Cora Edge, and Frank Reaugh when his family moved there in the early 1920s. 

    Dozier became a member of the Dallas Artists League in the 1930s after becoming involved with a group of regionalist artists. He taught at the Dallas School of Creative Arts from 1936 to 1938, while at the same time studying the various works of European artists such as Picasso, Leger, and Matisse. His initial style included bright colors and dominant forms but later moved to the earthy tones of beige, green, brown, and gray. In 1940, Dozier married and together he and his wife contributed much to the Dallas cultural scene.

    Dozier attended the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center in 1938 on a scholarship, studying with Boardman Robinson. For the next seven years he served as Boardmans assistant. While in Colorado, the Rocky Mountains became a favorite painting ground where he completed more than 3000 sketches of ghost towns and mountains. Influenced by Robinson, he developed a more fluid style and became an expert in the lithographic medium. Upon returning to Dallas, Dozier taught life drawing at Southern Methodist University from 1945 to 1948. From 1948 until 1970 he taught drawing and painting at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. He participated in sole exhibitions in the early to mid 1940s, as well as other major exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. 

    Dozier completed murals at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (Texas A&M University) and at various post offices in Texas. He won many awards at various exhibitions, including the International Watercolor Exhibition in San Francisco in 1932; the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1933; the First National Exhibition in New York in 1936; Allied Arts exhibitions in 1932, 1935, and 1947; and two Texas General exhibitions in 1946 and 1947. His works may be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; the Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery at the University of Texas at Austin; the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum in San Antonio; the Dallas Museum of Art; and the Panhandle-Plains Museum in Canyon, among others. 

    Dozier died of heart failure in 1987.

    Additional exhibition venues:
    Otis Dozier: A Centennial Celebration 1904-1987
    The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, November 6 - December 10, 2004


    Biography from Bill Reaves, Sarah Foltz
    OTIS DOZIER (1904-1987)

    Otis Dozier was born in Forney, Texas in 1904 and was raised on a farm in nearby Mesquite. Dozier enjoyed drawing and painting from an early age, and a visit to the Texas State Fair convinced him to pursue art as a vocation. Dozier recalled visiting the Fair’s rotunda and, there, seeing an early work by Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. Dozier did not understand the image but was fascinated by it, later recalling that looked like blood and buttermilk to him; he just looked and looked; the newspaper said it was so great and he was willing to learn but couldn’t understand why it was so great. Dozier’s family moved to Dallas at the beginning of the 1920s, and it was there that he would receive artistic training under Vivian Aunspaugh, Cora Edge, and Frank Reaugh. Dozier would study with Aunspaugh for two years. She introduced Dozier to art history and spoke highly of the Impressionists, although she was cooler towards the Cubists and Fauvists who represented France’s new vogue.

    Dozier became a member of the Dallas Artists League in the 1930s. He taught at the Dallas School of Creative Arts from 1936 to 1938 and was a significant member of the burgeoning Dallas art scene. Otis Dozier was a member of the cadre of Dallas artists known as the “Dallas Nine.” Though the disparate group of painters, printmakers and sculptors who composed the Nine could be broadly categorized as regionalists, they often displayed a decided fascination with the European avant-garde. This is especially true of Otis Dozier’s works, in which regionalist subject matter was often mingled with Surrealist and Cubist techniques. Starting in 1936, Dozier—as well as the other members of the Dallas Nine—began exhibiting their work at local, regional and national exhibitions. In 1936, Dozier, along with 713 artists from 47 states, attended the First National Exhibition of American Art at Rockefeller Center in New York. Dozier himself participated in numerous solo exhibitions during the mid-1940s and contributed to exhibitions in New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    In 1945, Dozier returned to Dallas. He had been invited by fellow artist Jerry Bywaters to teach at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts School and in Southern Methodist University’s art history department. While teaching, Dozier continued to paint and his paintings from this period display a liveliness and uncommon sense of vitality, attributed by the artist to his vivid surroundings.

    Classifying Otis Dozier as a Regionalist ignores his significance and diminishes his achievements. Dozier, like other members of Dallas’s art community, explored Regionalist subject matter, but he did so using sophisticated techniques and methods. He was unafraid of experimentation and eagerly incorporated techniques imported from abroad into his works. Recognized during his lifetime as an artist of national significance, it is vital that Dozier be remembered as an important contributor to American Modernism.

    Selected Biographical and Career Highlights

    • 1904, Born in Forney

    • 1920, Moves to Dallas

    • 1920-22, Studies at Aunspaugh Art School

    • Studies at the Dallas Art Institute

    • 1929-32, 1935, Draftsman at the Dallas Power and Light Company

    • 1936, Instructor at Dallas School of Creative Arts

    • 1945-48, Instructor at Southern Methodist University, Dallas

    • 1945-60s, Instructor at Dallas Museum of Fine Arts School

    • 1987, Dies in Dallas

    Selected Exhibitions

    • 1927, Annual Texas Artists Exhibition, Fort Worth

    • 1928-33, 1935, 1937-41, 1946-50, Annual Allied Arts Exhibition, Dallas

    • 1932, 1935, 1946, 1957, 1961, 1978, 1985, Dallas Museum of Art

    • 1933, Museum of Modern Art, New York

    • 1936, Dallas Centennial Exposition, Dallas

    • 1936, 1938, National Exhibition of American Art, Rockefeller Center, New York

    • 1940, 1946-48, Texas General Exhibition

    • 1942, 1944, 1952, 1960, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts

    • 1944, Fort Worth Museum of Art

    • 1948, 1955, Witte Memorial Museum, San Antonio

    • 1950, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

    • 1927, Annual Texas Artists Exhibition, Fort Worth

    • 1928-33, 1935, 1937-41, 1946-50, Annual Allied Arts Exhibition, Dallas

    • 1932, 1935, 1946, 1957, 1961, 1978, 1985, Dallas Museum of Art

    • 1933, Museum of Modern Art, New York

    • 1936, Dallas Centennial Exposition, Dallas

    • 1936, 1938, National Exhibition of American Art, Rockefeller Center, New York

    • 1940, 1946-48, Texas General Exhibition

    • 1942, 1944, 1952, 1960, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts

    • 1944, Fort Worth Museum of Art

    • 1948, 1955, Witte Memorial Museum, San Antonio

    • 1950, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

    Selected Public Collections

    • Blanton Museum of Art, Austin

    • Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon

    • Dallas Museum of Art

    • Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

    • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

    • McNay Art Museum, San Antonio

    • Witte Museum, San Antonio

    • Denver Art Museum

    • Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford

    • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

    • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York