American Southern States: 19th-21st Century Paintings



This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "American Southern States: 19th-21st Century Paintings." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section.

Following are links to valuable online resources found outside our website. Links may be to museums' articles about exhibits, plus much more topical information based on our online searches.

Following online resources is information about offline resources including museums, DVDs, and paper-printed books, journals and articles.


(above:  Conrad Wise Chapman (sketcher); John Gadsby Chapman (painter), Battery Beauregard, Nov. 22, 1863, 1864,  oil on panel, 11.5 x 15.5 in.  American Civil War Museum - Chapman Paintings Portfolio.  Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


Resource Library articles and essays honoring the American experience through its art:











(above:  Edward Lamson Henry, Locomotive and Paddle Wheel Steamer, n.d. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


From other websites:

Betty Bivins Edwards: Retrospective, an exhibit held January 23 - April 26, 2015 at the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon. Accessed March, 2015.

Beverly Buchanan: Southern Vernacular, an exhibit held in 2014 at the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon. Accessed March, 2015.

Bill Rutherfoord: Allegory of No Region is a 2017 exhibit at the Polk Museum of Art which says: "The reclaimed character Brer Rabbit leads the viewer on an epic journey across three centuries of heroism and trickery, both comic and tragic, ultimately creating historical and contemporary allegories and conundrums that lead to an investigation of the very nature of identity, culture, and history - personal and public, regional and national, high and low." Also see press release and artist's website  Accessed 12/17

Blackbird on my Shoulder: Stories and Other Truths from the South is a 2006 exhibit at the Dalton Gallery, Agnes Scott College, Decatur which says: "Blackbird on my Shoulder featured visual artists, writers and performers who were unshakably attached to the southeastern United States and were inspired by auto(biography) and storytelling." Accessed 12/18

Carew Rice (1899 - 1971)  is a 2017 exhibit at the Greenville County Museum of Art which says: Rice subtly challenged viewers with reductive renditions of Old South nostalgia. His cautionary tales were grounded in conservative values, but he liberally embraced the field hands, chain gangs, and working-class lifestyles of marginalized minorities."  Accessed 5/20

Central to Their Lives: Southern Women Artists in the Johnson Collection  is a 2019 exhibit at the Huntington Museum of Art which says: "Spanning the decades between the late 1890s and early 1960s, this exhibition examines the particularly complex challenges female artists confronted in a traditionally conservative region during a period in which women's social, cultural, and political roles were being redefined and reinterpreted." See a list of featured artists from the Johnson Collection.  Accessed 5/19

The Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South was a 2014-15 exhibit at the Georgia Museum of Art. Accessed August, 2015. Also, an essay by Joshua Fisher, Arkansas Tech University, discusses the exhibit. Accessed 2/17

David Bates: The Katrina Paintings is a 2011 exhibit at the Knoxville Museum of Art which says: "This exhibition includes more than 40 works Bates produced in response to 2005's Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it brought to the Gulf Coast."  Accessed 2/19

Encounters - Jared Small: Southern Moments in Time is a 2019 exhibit at the Huntsville Museum of Art  which says: " Small has gained critical acclaim for his unique paintings on panel and vellum that are generally focused on arresting and dreamlike portraits, arrangements of flowers floating in ethereal spaces, and stately yet dilapidated Southern homes existing in ambiguity."  Also see website of artist,  plus "Memphis in May poster artist Jared Small gaining attention with unique style," a 4/29/16 article by Michael Donahue in The Commercial Appeal  Accessed 4/19

Fever Within: The Art of Ronald Lockett is a 2016-17 exhibit at the High Museum of Art, which says: "The art of Ronald Lockett (American, 1965-1998) is both deeply connected to his life in the American South and transcendently resonant with broader human experience. In visually arresting works assembled from found materials, Lockett used a symbolic cast of animal avatars to address themes of struggle, survival, and injustice that are powerfully relevant today." See overview and 6 min video by curators. Accessed 10/16

Going Home: Paintings by Anne Goldthwaite (1869-1944) was a 2016 exhibit at Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, which says: "Painter and printmaker Anne Goldthwaite was a native Montgomerian who spent the majority of her career in New York City. While she resided on East Tenth Street in Manhattan for most of the year, she valued her routine summertime visits to her family back home in Montgomery and the surrounding areas. During these visits she made drawings and paintings that reflected her love of her family home, the townscape, and the culture of the South." Also see Anne Goldthwaite from the Johnson Collection. Accessed 10/16

Is It A True Likeness? is a 2018 exhibit at the TJC Gallery which says: "While both traditional and progressive likenesses were created by Southern artists, such depictions did not necessarily reflect women's realities. In truth, throughout the early twentieth century women in the South largely conformed to established gender roles dictated by the region's conservative values." Accessed 5/18

Knowing Who We Are: A 20th Anniversary Exhibition is part of a series of 2023-2024 exhibits drawing predominantly from the permanent collection at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. The museum says: "Knowing Who We Are tells the ever-changing story of the South through the evolving permanent collection of Ogden Museum of Southern Art. This exhibition examines the development of visual arts in the American South from the 19th century to the present. In doing so, it shifts focus from antiquated stereotypes of region, period, style and subject to address a contemporary understanding of varied histories reflecting broader inclusivity and representation. The multi-floor installation explores the contributions of artists who were transformative yet largely unrecognized ­ all in consideration of the indomitable presence of place, often an all-consuming and monolithic lens through which art produced in the South is perceived. other exhibits include: Knowing Who We Are: The Contemporary DialogueKnowing Who We Are: From 19th Century Academic Painting Through Southern Regionalism and Knowing Who We Are: The Rise of Abstraction, Vernacular Art and Photography  Accessed 4/23

The Johnson Collection website provides biographies of numerous historic Southern artists. Accessed August, 2015.

Paintings of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries: Overview from the New Georgia Encyclopedia, A project of the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, the Office of the Governor, and the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education. Accessed August, 2015.


(above: Alfred Hutty, Magnolia Gardens, 1920, oil on canvas, 39.87 x 31.75 inches, Gibbes Museum of Art. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons*)


Prints and Drawings of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries: Overview from the New Georgia Encyclopedia. Accessed August, 2015.

Romantic Spirits: Nineteenth-century Paintings of the South from the Johnson Collection was a 2015-16 exhibit at the Columbus Museum, which says:"Thirty-eight landscape, history, genre, portrait, and still-life paintings, including works by Thomas Sully, Washington Allston, Charles Bird King, Junius Brutus Stearns, William Dickinson Washington, and Robert Walter Weir, will be on view in this major exhibition on loan from the Johnson Collection." Accessed 10/16

Romantic Spirits: Nineteenth-Century Paintings from the Johnson Collection was a 2014-15 exhibit at the Telfair Museum of Art. Includes online video narrated by Courtney McNeil. Accessed 10/16

"The Sentimental South in American Painting of the 1920s" is a 2016 essay by Lizzie Frasco from Hawthorne Fine Art

Sidney Dickinson: A Connecticut Yankee in King Cotton's Court is a 2017 exhibit at the Greenville County Museum of Art which says: "Dickinson occasionally visited Calhoun, Alabama, where his parents worked with his maternal aunt, Charlotte Thorn, at the Calhoun Colored School."  Accessed 5/20

Souls Grown Deep: Artists of the African American South is a 2019 exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art which says: "With remarkable inventiveness and skill, generations of quilters from Gee's Bend, Alabama, have created arresting compositions of color and form, made from worn-out clothes and other repurposed fabrics. Exhibited with them are provocative mixed-media paintings and found-object sculptures by Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, and others whose subjects and materials echo with the painful history of the American South and the conditions of life for many who live there." Also see news release    Accessed 11/19

Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art is a 2016-17 exhibit at Nasher Museum of Art, co-organized by Trevor Schoonmaker, Chief Curator and Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, and Miranda Lash, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, which travels to the Speed Art Museum in 2017. NMA says: "This unprecedented exhibition addresses and complicates the many realities, fantasies and myths that have long captured the public's imagination about the American South. Presenting a wide range of perspectives, from both within and outside of the region, the exhibition creates a composite portrait of southern identity through the work of 60 artists. The art reflects upon and pulls apart the dynamic nature of the South's social, political and cultural landscape." The mini-site for the exhibit includes images of artworks, a reading list and resources; podcasts and more. Also see a September 24, 2016 review titled "'Southern Accent' Is a Revolutionary Exploded Diagram of Southern Identity in Contemporary Art" by Brian Howe at Accessed 10/16.

Thrill After Thrill: Thirty Years of Wayne White is a 2017 exhibit at the Hunter Museum of American Art which says: "Populated by larger than life puppets, wildly vivid paintings and fantastical sculptures, this summer exhibition promises to be fun, entertaining and engaging for children of all ages."   Accessed 2/19

Vernacular Voices Self-Taught, Outsider and Visionary Art From the Permanent Collection is a 2019 exhibit at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art  which says: "Vernacular Voices brings together a range of works by Self-taught, Outsider and Visionary artists from the American South to showcase the Ogden Museum of Southern Art's significant collection of Vernacular Art. Together, these works offer a broad view of the practices of a diverse group of artists who share many commonalities, perhaps the most important being that they have each created truly original bodies of work outside of any formal academic dialogue."   Accessed 1/20

What Lies Beneath: Masonite and American Art of the 20th Century is a 2019 exhibit at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art  which says: "As the material was an invention of the South, we have gathered work from several Southern museum collections, including our own, and many of the featured artists have ties to our region."  Accessed 3/20

Will Henry Stevens: Naturalist/Modernist is a 2021 exhibit at the Huntsville Museum of Art which says: "This exhibition presents the work of American artist Will Henry Stevens (1881-1949), a lifelong naturalist and important modernist painter known for his two distinct artistic styles: Representational Naturalism and Southern Modernism. Stevens clearly separated his two bodies of work, exhibiting his rural Southern landscapes and his non-objective abstractions at different galleries. Though seemingly disconnected, his individual styles are part of a larger whole. Each style was born from the soul of an artist strongly influenced by his reverence for the Southern landscape."  Accessed 6/21


(above: William Posey Silva, Cabins, South Carolina Low Country, 1935, oil on canvas mounted on Masonite, 25.1 x 30 inches, Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, South Carolina. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons*)


The South on Paper, By Estill Curtis Pennington, James C. Kelly. Published by Univ of South Carolina Press, 2000. ISBN 0963283634, 9780963283634. 155 pages. Google Books offers a limited preview of this book.


Videos sampler:

The WGBH/Boston Forum Network is an audio and video streaming web site dedicated to curating and serving live and on-demand lectures, including a number of videos on Art and Architecture. Partners include a number of museums, colleges, universities and other cultural organizations. See listings of related videos in this catalogue indexed by partner name. High Museum of Art partnered with Forum Network for Voice and Vision in Southern Self-Taught Art with discussion by Susan Crawley, curator, High Museum of Art, Carol Crown, assoc professor, art history, U Memphis, Charles Russell, assoc director, Rutgers Institute and Charles Reagan Wilson, director, Center for Southern Culture. (1 hour, 24 minutes) The High Museum's Susan Crawley, associate curator of folk art, moderates a panel discussion inspired by Carol Crown and Charles Russell's recent publication Sacred and Profane: Voice and Vision in Southern Self-Taught Art. Noted scholars discuss self-taught art in a cultural context. [April 12, 2007]. Accessed August, 2015.


(above: Baker Exhibit Center, North Carolina Arboretum, May, 2015. Photo © John Hazeltine. A potential source of Resource Library articles and essays is the North Carolina Arboretum, located in Asheville, North Carolina. The Arboretum features rotating exhibitions at the Baker Exhibit Center.)


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