The four artists featured in American Masters of the Mississippi Gulf Coast: George Ohr, Dusti Bonge, Walter Anderson, Richmond Barthe are linked as pioneers of modernism in the South. In this catalog to one of the American Masters Series exhibits funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, art historian Patti Carr Black examines the work of these four individuals, placing them in the contexts of twentieth-century American art and southern culture. George Ohr (1857-1918), from Biloxi, created highly inventive ceramics that were on the leading edge of the American modern pottery movement. Using local clays, rudimentary wood-burning kilns, and the formulae for old-world lead glazes, Ohr created and exhibited thousands of pieces. Dusti Bonge (1903-1993), also from Biloxi, is widely considered the first modernist painter in Mississippi. Her paintings of the city, in oil and watercolor, are entrenched firmly in Abstract Expressionist principles. Walter Anderson (1903-1965), from Ocean Springs, produced thousands of works during his three-decade career.
His striking watercolor paintings, block prints, pen-and-ink illustrations, wood carvings, poems, ceramic figurines, and murals are all testament to his imagination and skill. Richmond Barthe (1909-1989), from Bay St. Louis, was the first modern African American sculptor to achieve nationwide critical success. His readily accessible naturalism led to unprecedented celebrity for a black artist during the 1930s and 1940s. By putting their works in conversation with each other, American Masters of the Mississippi Gulf Coast shows the myriad ways in which the region was depicted and how these Gulf Coast creators shaped the development of American art.
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi