That is, he wasn't really a traditionalist painter even though many of his images included realistic details.
By the feel of some of his images, he might have been considered a Symbolist. Except it can be difficult to point out what was being symbolized.
Given some odd juxtapositions and choices of subjects, he might be considered a Surrealist. But only in a vague kind of way.
It seems Dickinson is hard to pin down when it comes to the evidence of his paintings.
Even verbally, he could be vague or impenetrable. At one point, he gave a lecture at Yale that left many in the audience puzzled. And then there's this interview regarding William Merritt Chase and Charles W. Hawthorne as his teachers, which contains bits that I found difficult to follow during a quick read.
Many of the links to Wikipedia dealing with obscure artists are brief, lacking the amount of detail I prefer to have. In Dickinson's case, his entry is huge. Then there's a fairly new online Dickinson Catalogue Raisonné that can be found here. If you want to read even more, there's John Perreault's take on Dickinson here and some observations by Mary Ellen Abell here.
Perhaps because he doesn't fit easily into the Modernist Establishment Art History Timeline handed down to me at university, and also because of the difficulty categorizing his work, I was totally unaware of Dickinson until very recently. So far as I know, I've never seen any of his paintings. But given what I found on the Internet, I would really like to, because many of them seem fascinating.
A fairly early work.
This seems to symbolize something ... but what?
Foley became his wife in 1928.
When this was first exhibited, it was hung sideways. That's understandable, given the odd perspective Dickinson gave his subjects here.
These two paintings seem vaguely Surrealist ... or maybe vaguely Symbolist ... or something else.
Hmm. I had a great-grandfather who was a musician-stretcher-bearer in the American Civil War.
Yes, it took Dickinson about a decade to complete this painting.
Dickinson did many landscapes in premier coup mode starting as a student under Hawthorne.