link to University of Utah Home link to Marriott Library Home
Off Campus Access - Log In

Utah Artists Project Logo

  • Artist Profile Image - George S. Dibble
    Photo Courtesy of the Springville Museum of Art.

    View Artwork

George S. Dibble

George Dibble was born in Oahu, Hawaii in 1904. Dibble was a painter, teacher, and art critic for The Salt Lake Tribune who, throughout his career, greatly influenced numerous artists and students. He died in 1992.

He took his first art class through the mail from a Cleveland cartoonist and caricaturist. In 1926, he received his teaching certificate from the University of Utah and taught elementary school for two years. Dibble then returned to the University for additional classes in 1928. Later he studied in New York City at the Art Student's League.

In the late 1930s, the Utah State Art Center exhibited works by Dibble and Bill Parkinson in what was probably the first non-objective art show in Salt Lake City. Dibble was a member of the first Modern Artists of Utah and participated in an exhibition and helped write a formal statement to the public, both intended to increase the understanding and acceptance of modern art in Utah. George Dibble's Marine #2 was done in 1938 and exhibits the main features of a cubist painting.

Biography adapted from Springville Museum of Art and Artists of Utah.

George Dibble is a painter, teacher, and art critic who, throughout his career, greatly influenced numerous artists and students. He took his first art class through the mail from a Cleveland cartoonist and caricaturist. In 1926, he received his teaching certificate from the University of Utah and taught elementary school for two years. Dibble then returned to the University for additional classes in 1928. Although he previously had taken many art classes, he did not feel his learning began until he was in New York City studying at the Art Student's League. He stated, "I found my style at the Art Student's League. School was drudgery until I got to New York and realized I had a point of view, that I could use it and get recognition for it."

In 1930, Dibble returned to Utah where he taught in the Murray School District. Then in 1935, Dibble continued his education at Columbia University, and in 1938, he received his Bachelor of Arts and in 1940, his Master of Arts from Columbia University.

While at Columbia, Dibble was influenced by several artists and styles including Cezanne and cubism. Dibble said about cubism, "I found it quite interesting to me because I found that it was strengthening to organize the canvas in spatial terms, in terms of concept. The multiple viewing for example, understanding what's inside the cup as well as outside, was fascinating."

After his graduation, Dibble taught at Utah State University as a visiting professor. Not long after, he accepted a job with the University of Utah's Stewart Training school where he trained teachers for the next seven years. The art faculty at the center implemented some of the most innovative educational ideas of the time. Dibble encouraged his students to explore and to find and follow their own direction, feeling that as a student, he had progressed best under such an approach. In 1949, he was promoted to associate professor at the University of Utah, and in 1950 became a visiting professor for summer sessions at the College of Southern Utah (now University of Southern Utah). In addition, he wrote a successful column for The Salt Lake Tribune for over 38 years.

In the late 1930s, the Utah State Art Center exhibited works by Dibble and Bill Parkinson in what was probably the first non-objective art show in Salt Lake City. Dibble was a member of the first Modern Artists of Utah and participated in an exhibition and helped write a formal statement to the public, both intended to increase the understanding and acceptance of modern art in Utah.

Although there was a group of Utah artists who had, as Dibble called it, " . . . the experimental urge ", there also was a powerful group of established artists who were appalled by the modernists. B. F. Larsen labeling the trend communistic and Avard Fairbanks publicly declaiming art was "going to the dogs." In fact, the only art chairman in Utah who was not opposed to modern influences was Calvin Fletcher, of Utah State University. Over the years, Utah has continued to have this division of representational, traditional artists and artists exploring the current, contemporary trends.

George Dibble's Marine #2 was done in 1938 and exhibits the main features of a cubist painting. (Cubists attempt to depict an object as it is known, often portraying several different aspects of the object simultaneously using simplified, geometric shapes they establish an intellectual, rather than a visual "realism.") This painting refers to a seascape "in the most extreme sense." The painting is Dibble's visualization of the scene, ordered so the work is non-objective, the triangle of the sail the only recognizable part. Dibble maintained this painting was the most abstract work, to date, that was then being exhibited in Utah.

Biography courtesy of Springville Museum of Art.

Newspaper Articles

"150 Years of Art: 'Art at the 'U' Traces History of University's Art Department." The Deseret News, February 20, 2000.

"After 50 Years, Artist Returns to his True Love: Painting." The Deseret News, May 29, 1998.

"Art Canvass." The Deseret News, December 5, 1993.

"Death: George S. Dibble." The Deeret News, June 3, 1992.

"Departing Caci Director Is Saluted George Dibble Served Business Group 12 Years." Rocky Mountain News, November 1, 1997.

"Depression-era Work on Display in Bountiful Utah Exhibit Will Also Stop at Cedar City and Provo." The Deseret News, January 30, 2000.

"Exhibit Of Paintings By George Dibble Opens Thursday At B.Y.U." The Salt Lake Tribune, August 28, 1994.

"Dibble Was Forthright, Gracious In Art And Life." The Deseret News, June 7, 1992.

"George Dibble." The Salt Lake Tribune, June 3, 1992.

"George Dibble: A Retrospective Recollection." The Salt Lake Tribune, June 7, 1992.

"George Dibble, U. Professor, Tribune Art Critic, Dies At 88." The Salt Lake Tribune, June 2, 1992.

"In the Public Eye." The Salt Lake Tribune, July 27, 2003.

"Rewriting the Book on Utah Art; Rewriting The Book On Utah Art." The Salt Lake Tribune, January 4, 1998.

"Through A Glass Brightly." The Deseret News, January 29, 1989.

Books

Davenport, Ray. Davenport's Art Reference. Ventura, CA: Davenport's Art Reference, 2001.

Dibble, George. George Dibble drawings: 26 June-7 August, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, University of Utah. Salt Lake City, UT: The Museum, 1994.

Dibble, George. Watercolor Materials and Techniques. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston 1966.

Dunbier, Lonnie Pierson. ed. The Artists Bluebook: 29,000 North American Artists. Scottsdale, AZ: AskART.com, 2003.

Falk, Peter Hastings. Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999.

Falk, Peter Hastings. Who Was Who in American Art: Compiled from the Original Thirty-four Volumes of American Art Annual--Who's Who in Art, Biographies of American Artists Active from 1898-1947. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1985.

Haseltine, James L. 100 Years of Utah Painting: Selected Works from the 1840s to the 1940s. Salt Lake City, UT: Salt Lake Art Center, 1965.

Olpin, Robert S. George Dibble: Painter, Teacher, Critic: Paintings 1928-1988. Salt Lake City, UT: Utah Museum of Fine Arts, University of Utah, 1988.

Olpin, Robert, S., William C. Seifrit, and Vern G. Swanson. Artists of Utah. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1999.

Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, and William C. Seifrit. Utah Art. Layton, UT: Peregrine Smith Books, 1992.

Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, Donna Poulton, and Janie Rogers. 150 Years Survey of Utah Art, Utah Artists. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 2001.

Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, and William C. Seifrit. Utah Painting and Sculpture. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1991.

 Last Modified 5/6/14