Dixie "Birdie Selden" has been a nationally renowned artist name in portraiture and American Impressionism since the late 19th century. She was born in Cincinnati, where she eventually settled, but spent most of her formative years in Covington, KY. Dixie traveled extensively through out her life, starting early with her beloved parents.
The nickname "Birdie" came from Dixie's parents, whom she was extremely close with. Born February 28th, 1868 she was the only surviving child of John Roger Selden and Martha Peyton McMillen Selden. They were able to provide her with a very comfortable life.
Dixie's education started at the McMicken School of Design in 1884, where she spent six years there until she decided to become an artist professionally in 1890. In her time there, the school transitioned to the Cincinnati Art Museum as the Art Academy and she studied under Frank Duveneck. She was highly influenced by his portraiture and Munich Style teachings. Throughout Dixies studies she lived with her parents and was never married, even though she had many suitors.
Later in her career, after her parents passed, Selden's most frequent travel partner was Emma Mendenhall. During their first few trips to Europe they painted with Annie G. Sykes and visited with Elizabeth Nourse. Frank Duveneck urged Dixie to enroll in a painting class in Venice under the direction of William Merritt Chase in 1913. Chase helped Dixie develop her most successful painting style of colorful impressionism. Her next class was under Henry Bayley Snell in St. Ives, Cornwall, England. She returned to Cincinnati after the beginning of WWI.
In 1935, after a long career and numerous travels such as Denmark, Germany and Asia, Dixie resided in Cincinnati. On November 14th, she spent the evening entertaining her fellow artist friends. After they left, she unexpectedly slumped into her chair at home and passed away in Carl Zimmerman's arm while he carried her to bed.
Other Notable Accomplishments:
- Portraits that Dixie is well known for are Martin Rettig & Mr. F.H. Lungren and Frank Duveneck.
- She was one of the Founders of the Women's Art Club and later the president.
"Dixie Selden; An American Impressionist" Genetta McLean, J.S. McCarthy Augusta Maine, 2001