Ellsworth Woodard in his April 1935 address to the annual meeting of the Southern States Art League in Nashville, TN.
“No yankee artist, however skilled, can paint the South. He has never known the sights and sounds and scents in his childhood as you have. I have spent 50 years in the South—I’m more Southern than Jeff Davis in some respects—and when I make these annual pilgrimages to various parts of the South in the Spring of the year, and wake up on the Pullman in the morning and see this lovely Southern scene with its incomparable trees and flowers, and hear the song of the mockingbird, I think what masterpieces I could paint—if only I were Southerner-born! What the Southern artist comes into the world for, is to find a symbol of the South!”
As we know today, many artists who migrated to the south from other regions of the country (and even a few from other countries) did become proficient in depicting the south in pictures that symbolized the unique character of the region. Along with immigrant artists, native southerners began to recognize the power and majesty of everyday scenes, of regional species, of the working man both white and black. Southern artists began to take hold of the American Scene and paint swamps and cotton picking and magnolias in bloom just as their northern counterparts painted the inner city, tenements, and shipyards.
Today, this rich artistic legacy is found in these period painted treaties often of times past but not forgotten. Please enjoy the tapestry of southern art available on my site and please contact me if you find a painting you’re interested in and want to discuss it further. Welcome to the South!
- Scott Power