In his journal (January 1913), Dawson tried to explain the "peculiar feelings" that his abstract paintings evoked: "awe, mystery, reverie (I can't find the words). Whatever they are, these feelings are produced entirely by shapes and colors that are not those of any visible or external objects." While his shapes and colors may have been non-representational, his imagery was not entirely abstract. Here, as in many of his paintings of the period, Dawson incorporated figurative elements. In the center of the composition is the suggestion of a standing figure in profile, its angled and compact shape reminiscent of the African sculptures that inspired the French Cubist and German Expressionist painters circa 1905 to 1920 that Dawson could have seen in Europe or reproduced in periodicals.
the artist (ca. 1913–d. 1969); his widow (1969–85); their grandson, Peter Lockwood, Arlington, Texas (1985–2005; his gift to MMA)
Randy J. Ploog and Myra Bairstow. Manierre Dawson (1887–1969): A Catalogue Raisonné. Jacksonville and New York, 2011, p. 304, no. 1913.10, ill. p. 199.