With this volume Patti Carr Black, former director of the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson, has produced a much-needed work and brings together previous research with a vast amount of new information.
Copublished by the Mississippi Historical Society, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the University Press of Mississippi, this elegant and comprehensive volume is the first of the Society's Heritage of Mississippi Series. Black has brought to the task a perspective on Mississippi art that was informed by a lifetime's dedication to art, years of curating museum exhibitions of Mississippi artists, and, specifically for this volume, three years of intensive research in museums and private collections around the country.
In Art in Mississippi she focuses on several hundred significant artists and showcases in full color the work of more than two hundred.
Nationally acclaimed native Mississippians are here-George Ohr, Walter Anderson, Marie Hull, Theora Hamblett, William Dunlap, Sam Gilliam, William Hollings-worth, Jr., Karl Wolfe, Mildred Nungester Wolfe, John McCrady, Ed McGowin, James Seawright, and many others. Prominent artists who lived or worked in the state for a significant period of time are included as well-John James Audubon, Louis Comfort Tiffany, George Caleb Bingham, William Aiken Walker, and more. There are many surprises here, for Black has gathered so much remarkable art that readers will be staggered by the richness of the visual art tradition in Mississippi.
Black explores how art reflects the land and how modes of living and values dictated by Mississippi's changing topography created a variety of art forms. She demonstrates the influence of Mississippi's diverse cultures upon the art and shows how it has responded in many forms-painting, architecture, sculpture, fine crafts-to the changing aesthetics of national art movements. She observes that much art was created to fill immediate needs of the times-reverent depictions of the Civil War, highly wrought expressions of the intensely devout, and works of social realism that grappled with a changing society.
Those who have long been fascinated by the magnificent literature and music produced by this southern state will encounter yet another treasure trove in Art in Mississippi, 1720-1980. Students of Mississippi's phenomenal cultural history will be captivated by this splendid volume.