Francis S. Dixon was born into a family of immense influence and wealth in Queens, Long Island. His grandfather, the Hon. James W. Dixon served from 1857 to 1869 as the United States Senator from Connecticut. Francis’s father, James Wyllys Dixon, was a noted Civil War officer and respected journalist.
Francis was one of ten children. While many of his brothers went into more typical professions, Francis was already by age twenty considered a fine painter. He studied at the Art Students League, New York, and with noted artists Frank Vincent DuMond, Robert Henri, and Charles W. Hawthorne.
During the United States involvement in World War I, Dixon worked as an “Army and Navy Song Leader” for the War Department based out of New York City. A relatively accomplished singer, Dixon was known to have performed over the years for fellow artists at the Salmagundi Club in New York City where he was a lifelong member.
Beginning in 1923 he traveled to Bermuda where he painted local scenery. He returned to Bermuda again in 1925 and during the early to mid-1920’s he also traveled to Great Britain and Continental Europe. By the 1930’s he was living on West 55th Street among several other artists, including Livingston Geer and Norman Roberts.
The New York Times said of his works in 1927: “The paintings of Francis Dixon… are romantic reports, with a dash of sombreness… Mr. Dixon’s art is an excellent conventional painting of landscape.”