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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.


An installment of Art Across Mississippi: Twelve Exhibitions, Twelve Communities.

After the Civil War, the major cities in Mississippi struggled to recover economically. By the early 1900s, Jackson and Biloxi had begun 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 in the early 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.

McComb Public Library | 1022 Virginia Avenue

Hosted by the Pike County Arts Council | Free to the public

Presented by

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 has curated exhibitions from its permanent 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 the opportunity to enjoy high-quality exhibitions from the Museum’s permanent collection in their own communities and reflect on the rich heritage of Mississippi’s visual arts while contemplating the meaning of the bicentennial moment.

Art Across Mississippi exhibitions are on view throughout the state at various locations between May 2017 and 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 is now on view through July 8, 2018 at the Mississippi Museum of Art.

The Mississippi Museum of Art and its programs are sponsored in part by the city of Jackson and Visit Jackson. Support is also provided in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Bicentennial exhibitions created by the Mississippi Museum of Art are supported by the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation and the state of Mississippi, through the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Additional support is provided by