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A Social Art: Mississippi Art in the Early 20th Century

McComb Public Library

May 6 - June 16, 2017

Marie Hull (1890-1980), Magnolias (detail), not dated. oil on canvas board. Collection of the Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson. Gift of the artist. 1953.008.

After the Civil War, the major cities in Mississippi struggled to recover economically. By the early 1900s, Jackson and Biloxi were beginning to see some revitalization and, as a result, art societies and museums were established throughout the state. Artists living and working in Mississippi learned from established painters, and while many still traveled to New York, Philadelphia, and Europe to study and paint, their desire to depict the people and land around them was a significant step in Mississippi’s creative industry. Perhaps as a reaction to the extreme social unrest and economic devastation following the Civil War, much of the art produced by local artists during the early 20th century skirted sociopolitical issues. However, artists like Marie Hull felt it was important to depict African Americans in dignified representations, which was Hull’s way of protesting racial injustice in the state.

Selected from the Mississippi Museum of Art’s permanent collection, A Social Art comprises some of the Museum’s earliest regional paintings that came into the collection at the beginning of the 1900s. Prominent subject matter in the art produced in these early decades were the Southern landscape, interior scenes, and portraiture. From the vivid, painterly regional landscapes by Ellsworth Woodward and Mary Clare Sherwood to an emerging interest in abstraction through the beautifully fragmented work by Will Henry Stevens, the first half of the 20th century was a time when Southern artists began to make their mark on the art world.

Free to the public.

Locally presented by:

Hosted by the Pike County Arts Council:

McComb Public Library | 1022 Virginia Ave, McComb, MS

This exhibition is part of Art Across Mississippi: Twelve Exhibitions, Twelve Communities.

About Art Across Mississippi:

To celebrate Mississippi’s bicentennial year, the Mississippi Museum of Art curates exhibitions from its collection for twelve host venues across the state. These exhibitions feature artworks by regionally acclaimed artists - past and present - including Walter Anderson, William Dunlap, William Ferris, Ke Francis, Marie Hull, Hystercine Rankin, and Sulton Rogers, among many others. Art Across Mississippi: Twelve Exhibitions, Twelve Communities provides residents throughout the state with an opportunity to enjoy high-quality exhibitions from the Museum’s permanent collection in their own communities, to reflect on the rich heritage of Mississippi’s visual arts, and to contemplate the meaning of the bicentennial moment.

Art Across Mississippi exhibitions are on view throughout the state at various points between May 2017 - May 2018. These traveling presentations are companions to Picturing Mississippi, 1817-2017: Land of Plenty, Pain, and Promise, a landmark exhibition more than 175 artworks interpreting the state’s rich artistic legacy over two centuries, brought home to the Museum in Jackson. Picturing Mississippi will be on view Dec. 9, 2017- July 8, 2018 at the Mississippi Museum of Art.