Thank you for viewing the site for Southern Fine Arts, a gallery dedicated to presenting artwork of the American South from the 19th and 20th centuries. One of my favorite aspects of Southern artwork is when artists in the South became exposed to modernism which had breached the eastern Seaboard of the United States with the famed Armory Show in 1913 in New York City exposing artists to radical new ways of painting emanating from Europe. Modernism did not take hold in the South, to any great extent, until after WWII and by the 1950s many artists active in the South put their own modernist interpretation into practice in depicting regional themes. Artists like Will Henry Stevens and Cramer Swords used cubist techniques while Laurence Edwardson and Johnny Donnels chose color and semi-abstracted forms to convey recognizable landscapes. This melding of tradition and modern produced some outstanding mid-century paintings and helped to advance new theories being taught in schools of art in the south and across the nation.
In The Art of the South 1890-2003, J. Richard Gruber and David Houston discuss modernism and abstraction: The optimism and progressive spirit that swept the country in the 1950s and 1960s fostered an environment more receptive to modern technical innovations and institutional architecture. The fractured, fast-paced experience of contemporary urbanity, however, remained alien to much of the South. Modern painting and sculpture found its most receptive home in the developing college and university art departments, and the spin-off art galleries in the region. Funded by the growth of federal education funding in the 1960s, the expanding importance of art in American society was an integral part of the idealism of The Great Society, an expansion of the progressive spirit embedded in the spirit of modernity. Within this changing climate, many Southern artists were inspired to pursue the new modernist art while choosing to remain in the South.
Please enjoy the many Southern modernist works I have available as well as all the other pictures. Welcome to the “new” south!