Pay Dirt
Pay Dirt

State of Utah Alice Merrill Horne Art Collection


Pastel on canvas

45 x 27



Copyright All Years. Utah Division of Arts & Museums. All Rights Reserved.

View all works by: George Smith Dibble

This work was featured in the Visual Arts Newsletter for September of 2012: "Dibble grew up in Layton, Utah. In 1941, he began a long career as an art professor at the University of Utah. Dibble submitted this piece to the Utah State Fair in 1938. Pay Dirt was one of the earliest Cubist-derived paintings to be shown in Utah, and was the kind of painting associated with Communism. Dibble recalled being told by Utah artist B.F. Larsen that "modernism is a communist movement," and by sculptor Avard Fairbanks that "modernism destroys art." It was "an intense time," Dibble recalled, "fangs were showing." Dibble's Pay Dirt later became a part of the State's art collection and while undergoing conservation was scrubbed "clean" with a wire brush as an act of vandalism. Later, an offer was extended to George Dibble from the Arts Council to replace Pay Dirt with another painting. Dibble declined the offer. No effort has been made to repair the vandalism, mostly because the painting has seen too much trauma. But at this point, the story is almost worth more than the painting.The Utah Arts Council displays and travels the piece in its current condition."