(b Seneca Falls, NY, 11 Oct. 1891; d Cape Cod, Mass., 2 Dec. 1978).
American painter and draughtsman. He often treated enigmatic or disquieting subject matter and he has been described as ‘perhaps the first American artist about whom some knowledge of dream theory is essential for decoding his works’ (Matthew Baigell, A Concise History of American Painting and Sculpture, 1984). His personal symbolism is seen at its most disturbing and provocative in his self-portraits, in which he sometimes depicted himself as dead. He is best known, however, for large compositions such as The Fossil Hunters (1926–8, Whitney Mus., New York). Dickinson often worked on his big pictures for a number of years and said that they were never ‘really finished’. He has been called a Surrealist and also seen as a sophisticated culmination of the 19th-century Romantic tradition.