The Cloud King

Maynard Dixon, The Cloud King

Although he was born in Fresno, California, in 1875, Maynard Dixon spent much of his art career in Arizona (he died in Tucson in 1946). He made his first sketching trip to the state in 1900, drawing scenes he saw at Fort Mojave, Prescott, Camp Verde and Phoenix. He returned often, gravitating toward the Navajo country and the Hopi mesas where he spent many years painting among the long, straight ridges. He became a master not only of capturing Arizona’s buttes and mesas, but also the region’s unique clouds. His masterpiece work is 1925’s Cloud World, which expertly renders the essence of northern Arizona’s flat-bottomed clouds marching across the sky. His art has inspired countless artists, and his cloud mantle has been passed on to a Phoenix boy—Ed Mell.

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