John Steuart Curry's Hoover and the Flood: Painting Modern History

John Steuart Curry's Hoover and the Flood: Painting Modern History

by Charles C. Eldredge
     
 
In 1940, John Steuart Curry painted a scene of Herbert Hoover directing relief efforts after the Mississippi River flood of 1927 as part of a series of paintings depicting modern American history commissioned by Life magazine. In this in-depth case study, Charles Eldredge examines the story of the artist and his painting as well as the American cultural and

Overview

In 1940, John Steuart Curry painted a scene of Herbert Hoover directing relief efforts after the Mississippi River flood of 1927 as part of a series of paintings depicting modern American history commissioned by Life magazine. In this in-depth case study, Charles Eldredge examines the story of the artist and his painting as well as the American cultural and political era in which it was made.

Eldredge asks several provocative questions. Why did Curry, an artist associated with his native Kansas, choose to depict a subject from the Mississippi Delta? As a painter of nineteenth-century or contemporary agrarian scenes, what prompted Curry to select a specific historical event rather than a more generalized statement of American life? Who was the presumed audience, and what role did it have in the painting's creation? Because of its position in the artist's career, its role in a notable publishing venture, and its appearance at a crucial political moment, Hoover and the Flood provides a revealing look at American art and culture--both political and journalistic--of 1940.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Evenhanded and inclusive . . . an important exploration of the complex social consciousness motivating Regionalist artists.--Great Plains Quarterly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807830871
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
10/15/2007
Edition description:
1
Pages:
112
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.40(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Charles Eldredge puts the 'history' back in 'art history.' He reminds the reader of the devastating natural catastrophes of the 1920s and '30s, the humanitarian leadership that sent Herbert Hoover to the White House, and the social consciousness of the Regionalist painters. John Steuart Curry's Hoover and the Flood is every bit as much a Kansas masterpiece as the neglected painting.--Karal Ann Marling, University of Minnesota

Meet the Author

Charles C. Eldredge is Hall Distinguished Professor of American Art and Culture at the University of Kansas. He is former director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, Kansas. He is author of numerous books, including Tales from the Easel: American Narrative Paintings.

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