ctsprinterlife: OTR 8.0 Mississippi Part 2

Hattiesburg — a very brief history

After spending time in Louisianna we traveled north back into Mississippi to visit Hattiesburg. We were up in the air about visiting Hattiesburg but after a conversation with a former resident of Hattiesburg (that we met in Cleveland, Mississippi) we decided to invest a day and check out the town. Additionally, visiting Hattiesburg would provide an opportunity to ride the Longleaf Bike Trail.

Hattiesburg was founded in 1882 by William Hardy and named after his wife Hattie. The land that is now Hattiesburg became available after the Chicksaw and Choctaw peoples were forcibly removed under the Indian Removal Act which allowed the government to relocate the nations to land west of the Mississippi River.

The city thrived in its early days as part of the burgeoning lumber industry (Hattiesburg sits in the Pine Belt) and is known as the Hub City because of the confluence of rail lines running through the city. While the timber industry is not a major economic force today, the city is still a major rail hub with freight lines bisecting the city.

While Hattiesburg was not founded until well after the Civil War, the town nonetheless did its part to uphold the legacy of slavery and segregation. The Black residents of Hattiesburg were still largely unregistered to vote in 1962 due to the efforts of the municipal government to make it impossible for Blacks to qualify to vote. For more information about the Civil Rights Movement in Hattiesburg click on the link: https://mississippiencyclopedia.org/entries/hattiesburg-civil-rights-movement/

Hattiesburg — home of rock ‘n roll?

One facet of Hattiesburg that we were totally unaware of prior to our visit is the claim that Hattiesburg is the true home of Rock ’N Roll. Musicologists have traced the roots of the genre to the Graves brothers – Blind Roosevelt and Uaroy. The brothers started as Gospel singers but in 1936 joined with pianist Cooney Vaughn to form the Mississippi Jook Band. Two of their songs in particular are now viewed as very early Rock ’N Roll songs. These songs, Barbecue Bust and Dangerous Woman, were performed and recorded long before the genre was clearly defined and popular. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pegm79r1zE

Today, many musicologists consider the roots of Rock ’N Roll began in the African American Churches in the South where the music was “rocking and reeling” and instruments other than the organ were used to accompany the singers (out of necessity as the congregations could not afford an organ). An excellent article on this subject: https://countryroadsmagazine.com/art-and-culture/visual-performing-arts/hattiesburg-birthplace-of-rock-n-roll/

Longleaf trail

The Longleaf Trail is a 45.5 mile paved rails-to-trails bikeway. The southern trailhead is in Hattiesburg and the trail runs in a northwest direction terminating in Prentis. We rode out and back on the southern half of the trail from Hattiesburg and the northern half of the trail from Sumral Station (west of Laurel).

Longleaf is a Hall of Fame trail and for good reason. The trail is paved, in excellent condition and passes through beautiful Southern scenery. Surprisingly, we encountered very few other riders on either of our rides. We highly recommend this trail. The round trip is 91 miles – beyond our current range – so we split the trail and enjoyed two rides.

The town

Laurel is not our ”home Town” but it could be!

Laurel was added to our intinary once we decided to visit Hattiesburg. If you are a fan of the HGTV show Home Town you may recognize Laurel as the small town where husband and wife Ben and Erin Napier help folks renovate local homes. As a result of the popularity of the show, the town has attracted many visitors and new residents.

We visited their retail store and woodworking shop while in town, but there were unfortunately no celebrity sightings. We can tell you their two stores are doing a brisk trade! Good for them – the couple has done a lot to help bring back this former lumber industry town.

We arrived in Laurel on the day of the annual crawfish festival. The festival runs from 11AM to 3PM – all you can eat for $15- Classic Low Country Boil – crawfish, sausage, potatoes, sweet potatoes and corn. Live music to boot. Now that is Southern Hospitality!

Laurel has more than the CrawFest and the TV show to offer. There are several excellent restaurants (The Loft….our favorite) and several neigborhoods with streets lined with live oaks and stately homes. Lastly, the former town library was converted and expanded into an art museum with a very nice collection of paintings and sculptures. We have included several photogrpahs of our favorite paintings at the end of this post.

William Hollingworth (1910-1944) The Mystery of a Southern Night, 1941, Oil on canvas
Charly Palmer (1960) Leadbelly c. 2012, Acrylic on canvas
Alfred Conteh (1975) Preme 2020, Acrylic and Atomized brass dust on canvas
John Winslow (1938) Painting in Marcella’s Studio 1982, Oil on canvas
Janet Fish (1938) Pink Scarf and Daffodils 2008, Oil on canvas

This post is our penultimate post on Mississippi as part of OTR 8.0. If you missed our previous posts you can find them at ctsprinterlife: OTR 8.0: Mississippi Part One and Ocean Springs, Mississippi at ontheroadwithmariastephen.net Our final post will cover our exploration of the Mississippi Delta.

Be seeing you!

Fine Art Tourist: Ogden Museum of Southern Art

Paul Ninas, Louisiana (1903-1964) Avery Island Salt Mines, 1934, Oil on canvas

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art (OMSA) is relatively new museum, opening its doors in 1999. Its genesis was the donation of 600 works of art by philanthropist Roger Ogden. Today the museum’s collection has grown to 4000 works and is housed in two buildings – the first built in 1989 and the second in 2003. The museum is located in the warehouse district directly across the street from the impressive National World War 2 Museum.

As the name implies, the museum is focused on art representing the South and -through the art – the history and culture of the South. All of the art in the museum is the work of artists from the 14 southern states and Washington D.C.

We toured the permanent collections featuring Southern Landscapes and Southern Regionalism (culture and values). We also viewed the paintings of Benny Williams – a remarkable story (see biography below) of an artist committed to the civil rights movement.

Southern Landscapes

Florence McClung, Louisiana (1894-1992) Cypress Swamp, Caddo Lake, 1940, Oil on masonite
Luis Graner, Louisiana (1867-1929), Misty Marsh Along Lake Pontchartain, c.1920, Oil on canvas

Southern regionalism

Edmund Daniel Kinzinger, Texas (1888-1963), Taxco Woman in Red and Gray, 1937, Oil on board
Crawford Gillis, Louisiana (1914-2000), Women Praying, Holiness Church, 1940, Oil on canvas
John Kelly Fitzpatrick, Alabama (1888-1953), Mules to Market, 1937, Oil on canvas
George Rodrigue, Louisiana (1944-2013), Aioli Dinner, 1971, Oil on canvas

The Aioli Dinner was Rodrigue’s first major painting with people as subjects. He designed the painting using combinations of photographs taken of the Aioli Gourmet Dinner Club, a group that met once a month on the lawn of a different plantation home in and around New Iberia, Louisiana. Traditionally, only men sat at the table, each with their own bottle of wine. The women seen standing in the back row cooked the food, and the young men around the table served dinner. One of the older men made the aioli, a garlic-mayonnaise sauce. Rodrigue’s grandfather, Jean Courrege, sits on the left near the head of the table, and his uncle Emile is the third boy standing from the left, peeking his head in between the others. All of the figures are portraits of people who lived in and around New Iberia. Rodrigue chose the historic Darby House Plantation as the setting for his painting.*

Bo Bartlett, Georgia (1955) Young Life, 1994, Oil on linen with deer hair

Bo Bartlett is an American realist painter born 1955 In Columbus, Georgia. At 19, he travelled to Florence, Italy to study painting under Ben Long. He went on to apprentice under Nelson Shanks and to study in several American schools, including Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and University of the Arts, PA. A Certificate in Filmmaking from New York University in 1986 led him to work with Betty Wyeth on a documentary film, titled Snow Hill, about her husband, Andrew Wyeth, who became both mentor and friend to Bartlett. An interesting detall of this masterwork is the Inclusion of a deer tail ln the frame, and deer hair in the paint. Writlng about Young Life in February of 1994, Bartlett says: “I saw my sister’s son In this shirt and cap. I asked him to pose with his girlfriend in front of my father’s truck. As I took the photo, my youngest son Eliot ran into the picture.*

Benny andrews

Benny Andrews, Georgia (1930-2006) The Poverty of it All, 1965, Oil on canvas

One of ten children, Benny Andrews was born on November 13, 1930, in Plainview, Georgia, a light skinned, blue-eyed, blond haired baby. James Orr (“Mr. Jim”), his paternal grandfather, was the son of a prominent white plantation owner. His paternal grandmother, who was the midwife at his birth, was Jessie Rose Lee Wildcat Tennessee. And, like her, his maternal grandparents, John and Allison Perryman, were mixed race, with black and Native American blood. Hts father, George Andrews, was a self-taught artist, the “Dot Man,” who never lived more than ten miles from Plainview and never left Georgia. In contrast, his mother, Viola Perryman Andrews, loved travel and was an advocate for education who encouraged her children to write and to draw daily. After becoming the first member of his family to graduate from high school, he attended Fort Valley State College supported by a scholarship. He was not allowed to attend the University of Georgia, in nearby Athens, nor enroll in Lamar Dodd’s well-known art classes there, due to the color of his skin. In 1954, after serving as a military policeman in the Korean War, he used the GI Bill to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, studying under Kathleen Blackshear. No longer constrained by the racial laws of the South, he entered an art museum and saw original masterworks for the first time in 1954, an experience that brought tears to his eyes. After graduating in 1958, he moved to New York, where he maintained a studio for the rest of his life. Despite limited connections to the city’s art world, by 1962 he began to exhibit regularly at Bella Fishko’s Forum Gallery. By the late-1960s, influenced by the Civil Rights Movement, and troubled by the social, racial and gender inequities he discovered in the art world, he entered a period of social and cultural activism which was reflected in his art. After he co-founded the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition in 1969, and participated in marches outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, demonstrating against the exclusion of women and artists of color from those institutions, he was often classified as a “protest artist.” From 1970 through 1976, he executed the “Bicentennial Series,” a project devoted to depicting the complex history of African-Americans for the American Bicentennial. After exhibiting that project, he returned to the studio and to his position as a member of the Queens College art faculty. Beginning in 1982, he served as Director of the Visual Arts Program for the National Endowment for the Arts, a position which brought him increased national stature. He resigned in 1984, feeling he had accomplished what he could and anxious to return to his studio. In 1984, he built a studio outside of Athens, Georgia, where Benny was able to work more closely with his Georgia family. He encouraged his father, “The Dot Man,” to expand his art production to include painted canvases. From 1984 until 1996, when George Andrews died, he worked to advance the recognition of his father’s art. In 2001, after living and working in Manhattan for more than forty years, Benny Andrews and Nene Humphrey renovated and moved to a new studio and residential structure in Brooklyn. The primary focus in the studio during his last years was the “Migrant Series,” inspired by his reading of writers such as Flannery O’Connor and Langston Hughes as well as his rediscovery of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Each of the three major components of this project was planned to reflect one aspect of his own mixed heritage-he was of African-American, Scotch-Irish and Cherokee descent – and was to be related to a major migration in American history, beginning with the Dust Bowl migration to California, continuing with the Cherokee “Trail of Tears” migration, and concluding with the Great Migration of African-Americans to the North. In 2006, after repeated visits to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, he decided to add a concluding chapter to his American “Migrants” series, devoted to the mass migration that emerged in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The evolution of the project was suspended when he was diagnosed with the cancer which led to his death, on November 10, 2006.*

Benny Andrews, Georgia (1930-2006) Grandmother’s Dinner, 1992, Oil and collage
Peter Dean (1934-1993) Portrait of Benny Andrews, c. 1972-1974, Oil on canvas

We liked the Ogden very much – really interesting art along with some insight into the South through the stories and moments captured in the paintings of these Southern artists. We recommend visiting the museum when you visit the Big Easy.

Be seeing you!

*Adapted from museum curator notes.

Fine art tourist: Emil bisttram at panhandle-plains museum (PPHM)

h. d. bugbee, mountain men, (old bill williams and jim bridger), oil on canvasboard

A brief history of the PPHM

PPHM is located in Canyon, Texas, approximately 20 miles south of Amarillo. The museum opened to the public in 1933. It was the brainchild of Hattie Anderson, an educator who had moved to Canyon to teach history at the West Texas Normal School (now West Texas A&M University).

Hattie was fascinated by the history of the area and began to enlist the aid of individuals  in the area to form a historical society to preserve the history and culture of the Panhandle-Plains.  The historical society flourished for thirteen years; the growing collection of artifacts that created the need for more space. The historical society then funded the creation and operation of the museum.

Today the museum continues to prosper and is home to over three million artifacts within the 285,000 square foot complex. The museum provides insight into the past and the present of many facets of the people,culture, history and industry of the Panhandle-Plains. The collection includes galleries devoted to paleontology, archeology, geology, Native American culture, textiles, petroleum extraction and western art. we

We enjoyed the PPHM immensely and strongly recommend devoting at least a half day visit when you visit the Amarillo – Lubbock area of the Panhandle. In addition to the museum this area offers ample outdoor recreational opportunities (Palo Duro Canyon and Caprock Canyon – see post: CTSPRINTERLIFE: TOURING THE PANHANDLE). https://wordpress.com/post/ontheroadwithmariastephen.net/6946

EmIL Bisttram

OTR had the great fortune to meet Deanna Lowe Craighead, Curator of Art at the PPHM, while visiting another museum in the panhandle. In addition to dialing us in about the Bisttram exhibition, Deanna also provided us with the recommendation to visit the Philbrook Museum in Tulsa ( see post FINE ART TOURIST PHILBROOK MUSEUM OF ART). https://wordpress.com/post/ontheroadwithmariastephen.net/7362 The balance of this post is dedicated to the Bisttram exhibit and a bit of his biography.

Emil Bisttram was born in Nagylak, Hungary (now Nadlac, Romania) in 1895. His family emigrated to New York City in 1906. Bisttram studied art at National Academy of Design, Cooper Union, the Art Students League, and the New York School of Fine and Applied Art. He also taught art while studying and was known through out his career as an excellent and sought after teacher.

emil bisttram, storm over taos, c. 1931, oil on canvas

Bisttram visited Taos, New Mexico in 1930. Initially he was overwhelmed by the size and scale of the New Mexico landscape and he struggled to capture the majesty of the environment. Despite that he returned to Taos in 1932 and it remained his home until his death in 1976.

Bisttram evolved from painting New Mexico landscapes and native culture to a decidely abstractionist style. The painting above (Storm Over Taos, 1931) is representative of his early work in New Mexico. The photographs of his paintings below are from the PPHM exhibit (private collection on loan – Ladd Family) and show his progression into abstraction.

emil bisttram, waterfall, 1959, acrylic on canvas
emil bisttram, winter, 1959, enamel on masonite
emil bisttram, celestial structures, 1959, enamel on masonite
emil bisttram, ascension no. 2, 1959, enamel on masonite
emil bisttram, midsummer night’s dream, 1960, enamel on masonite
festivity, 1960, enamel on masonite

Transcendental painting group (TPG)

Bisttram, along with Raymond Jonson, formed the TPG. The TPG was part of the Non-Objective Abstractionist wave of Modernism – which in part emanated from the influx of artists fleeing the increased political disruption ocurring during the 1930s in Europe.

emil bisttram, symphony in blue, 1963, oil on masonite

“The Transcendental Painting Group is composed of artists who are concerned with the development and presentation of various types of non-representational painting; painting that finds its source in the creative imagination and does not depend upon the objective approach.” —- TPG Manifesto

emil bisttram, windsong, 1964, oil on masonite

While we do not enjoy the work of some popular avant garde abstract artists, in our very humble opinion we think the paintings of the TPG artists and in particular Bisttram are in a different category. The work is clearly non-objective in may regards but relatable and created with a clear design in mind. We would love to know what you think.

Be seeing you!

P.S. Added bonus of visiting the PPHM – the excellent Palace Coffee is a five minute walk from the museum.

Fine art tourist: Oklahoma city museum of art (okcmoa)

Pierre-August Renoir, Portrait of a Girl, ca. 1895, Oil on canvas

The OKCMOA is the product of two Oklahoma City art museums that merged in 1989. The current modern and architecturally impressive downtown location was newly constructed and opened in 2002. OKCMOMA is a fully privately funded organization that has significant local individual and corporate support.

The museum has a diverse collection which we found to be well curated. As an example, the portrait gallery includes portraits that were painted in a period spanning 1820 through 2018 and brings a focus less to the style of painting and more to the culture and norms of the period. We have included photographs of several of our favorite paintings from the portrait gallery below.

Kehinde Wiley, Jacob de Graeff, 2018, Oil on linen

Dale chihuly

Many are familiar with the beautiful glass work of Dale Chihuly and his studio. The OKCMOA has one of the largest collections of his work anywhere. The pieces included in the OKCMOA collection span over 30 years of Chihuly’s work.

The collection is exquisite. What really adds to the collection is the staging of the various pieces – the lighting is set perfectly and most of the installations can be viewed from multiple perspectives adding greatly to the experience (and allowing for the possibility of reasonably good photographs!).

Southwestern art

Followers of OTR know that we admire many styles and schools of art while having a special affinity for art from the southwest. We have included photographs of several of our favorites from the collection on display at OKCMOA.

Doel Reed, The Canyon, 1958, Oil on board
EL Blumenschein, New Mexico, 1921, Oil on canvas
John Sloan, Two Black Crows, 1924, Oil on canvas
Oscar Brousse Jacobseon, from the Trail Ridge, 1936, Oil on canvas board
Alexandre Hogue, Soil and Subsoil, 1946, Oil on canvas

Realism

Our two favorites from the genre of Realist paintings.

Janet Fish, The Ox Bow, 1977, Oil on canvas
Dhimitri Zonia, Saturday Morning, 1969, Oil on canvas

OKCMOA is a very fine mid-sized museum which can be viewed in two to three hours, and should be included in your Oklahoma City itinerary. We will be writing about another OKC museum, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in an upcoming post.

Be seeing you.

Fine art tourist: YAM YAM…YELLOWSTONE ART MUSEUM: FINE ART TOURIST

New beginnings

Fall in Northern New New Mexico, 1922, Theodore van Soelen
Telaya Peak, c.1921, Jozef Bakos

This was our first visit to Billings and the Yellowstone Art Museum. We were fortunate that our visit coincided with an exhibition of art by New Mexico based artists. The exhibition, New Beginnings, features a diverse group of artists that settled in Taos and Sante Fe, starting in the late 19th century. The majority of the works on exhibit were painted between 1900 and 1940.

Untitled (New Mexico Churchyard), c.1940, Katherine Levin Farrell
Across the Valley, 1929, Alexandre Hogue
La Loma – Taos, c. 1920, Richard Crisler
Sanctuario, 1917, George Bellows
Santa Fe Landscape (Talaya Peak), 1918-1919, B.J.O. Nordfeldt
New Mexico Landscape, c. 1934,Cady Wells
Home by Dark, c. 1930, Oscar Berninghaus
Corrals, c. 1935, Barbara Latham
Taos, New Mexico, 1927, Richard Crisler
The Gathering, c. 1920, Laverne Nelson Black

The New Beginnings exhibit featured paintings by artists that migrated from the east coast to live and work in New Mexico. A number of the featured artists were the founding members of the Taos Colony.

The opportunity to experience and paint the dramatic southwestern landscape inspired many of the transplants to try new styles, colors and techniques which gave new life to their careers as artisits.

While many of these artists are not well known, their collective work was well received in the east where most people had never personally experienced the culture or seen the landscapes of New Mexico.

We were captivated by this exhibit which contains a significant number of paintings. We have included a sample of some of our favorites. The exhibit continues at the YAM until 16 July, 2021.

Matriarchs of modernism

Little Island Winter, 1965, Isabella Johnson

A second smaller exhibit currently on display at the YAM is Matriarchs of Modernism.This exhibit features the work of four Montana women artists and several of their students (men and women). The exhibit is part of the museums celebration of the centennial of women’s sufferage.

We hope you enjoyed the art work included in this post and would definitely recommend a visit to the YAM if your travels take you to Billings.

Be seeing you!

FINE ART TOURIST: PITTSBURGH

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Carnegie museum of art

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The Carnegie Museum of Art was founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895. Carnegie was a Scottish immigrant who arrived in America at age 13 with his family in 1848. Carnegie went to work shortly after his arrival as a bobbin boy in a mill, working six days a week, 12 hours a day for the equivalent of $35.00 a week in 2020 dollars.

By his 18th year, Carnegie was working at the Pennsylvania Railroad Company where he moved up quickly to become the Superintendent of the Western Division. Utilizing his connections made at the railroad Carnegie made investments in multiple industries, ultimately founding the Carnegie Steel Company. When he sold the company to JP Morgan, Carnegie became the wealthiest person in America for a period of time.

From that point forward, Carnegie devoted his life to philanthropy. He ultimately spent 90% of his fortune to start and fund a number of philanthropic and learning institutions including the Carnegie Museum of Art.

The CMOA is focused on contemporary art and has a significant collection of works by impressionist, post-impressionist, expressionist and realism painters. The museum also has galleries devoted to abstract artists such as Pollack and Rothko but frankly, abstract art is not art we enjoy.

We have included a sample of some of our favorite paintings from our visit to the CMOA during our recent stay in Pittsburgh. All of the photographs were taken at the museum by @FineArtTourist. We hope you enjoy the selection. Please let us know.

Be seeing you!

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Expressionism

Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye…it also includes the inner pictures of the soul.”
Girl Under Apple Tree (1904) Oil on Canvas. Edvard Munch
A painter paints the appearance of things, not their objective correctness. In fact, he creates new appearances of things.”
The Lighthouse of Fehmarn (1912) Oil on canvas. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Realism

“When you paint, try to put down exactly what you see. Whatever else you have to offer will come out anyway.” The Wreck (1896) Oil on canvas. Winslow Homer

Post-Impressionism

I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say ‘he feels deeply, he feels tenderly’.”
Wheat Fields after the Rain (1890) Oil on canvas. Vincent van Gogh
What color is in a picture, enthusiasm is in life.” Le Moulin de la Galette (1886-1887)
Oil on canvas. Vincent van Gogh

Impressionism

“I do not always find the streets interesting, so I wait until I see picturesque groups and those that compose well in relation to the whole.”
Fith Avenue in Winter (1892) Oil on canvas. Childe Hassam
“Colors pursue me like a constant worry. They even worry me in my sleep. ”
The Sea at Le Havre (1868) Oil on canvas. Claude Monet
“The art of the colorist has in some ways elements of mathematics and music.”
Place des Lices, St. Tropez (1893) Oil on canvas. Paul Signac
Color! What a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams.” Landscape with Three Figures (1901) Oil on canvas. Paul Gaugin

“The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration.”
Water Lilies (1915-1926) Oil on canvas. Claude Monet

Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.
The Great Bridge (1896) Oil on canvas. Camille Pissarro