These popular religious groups were part of the scene of rural life that Curry saw in Kansas. He left Kansas in disgust and refused to sign the two murals he did complete, saying that they could not be understood in isolation. College Art Association v.6.1 (1946): 59–60. They do not need to be threatened by some fear complex in order to do their best. John Currie (c. 1884 – 11 October 1914) was an English painter and murderer. convicted of treason against the state of Virginia, "History Guy focuses on John Steuart Curry, painter of Kansas Statehouse murals", "Curry's Studies for Kansas State Capitol", "John Steuart Curry, 48, Family Artist, Dies Today of Heart Attack", "The 75th Anniversary of John Steuart Curry's, "Two Measure by John Steuart Curry Define Rejection by Fellow Kansans", "My Experience With John Steuart Curry and His Widow", "PBS "Online News Hour: John Steuart Curry, "Cross-Curricular Connect: Tragic Prelude", John Steuart Curry and Curry family papers, 1848-1999, John Steuart Curry / Baptism in Kansas / 1928, PBS Online News Hour – John Steuart Curry, Don Anderson papers relating to John Steuart Curry, 1942–1973, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Steuart_Curry&oldid=987616618, School of the Art Institute of Chicago alumni, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2020, Wikipedia articles needing page number citations from August 2020, Wikipedia articles with RKDartists identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with Trove identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Keep in touch by subscribing to news and updates from SAAM and Renwick Gallery.  This editorial was the sixth of eight commissioned installments for LIFE Magazine's American History Series that featured modern American history paintings. As seen later, the experience turned Curry into a conservationist, especially concerned with Kansas's man-made ecological disaster, the plowing that produced horrible erosion in Kansas, along with dust bowl storms. He was the eldest of five children to parents Thomas Smith Curry and Margaret Steuart Curry.  Reaction was so negative that the Kansas Legislature passed a measure to keep them, or future works of his, from being hung on the capitol walls. [page needed], John Steuart Curry never forgot that he came off a Kansas farm, that his folks were plain Kansas folks whose lives were spent with the plain, simple, elemental things of the earth and sky. [page needed] Two different schools of art did work during this time: Regionalists and Social Realist. Typical of Curry's work of the 1930s, he depicted scenes of labor, family, and land, in order to demonstrate peace, struggle, and perseverance that he had come to believe was the essence of American life, the spirit of Kansas. His childhood home was filled with many reproductions of Peter Paul Rubens and Gustave Doré, and these artists' styles played a significant role in crafting Curry's own style. What some Kansans found particularly offensive was his stated plan to portray the tragedy of soil erosion in one of his planned murals for the Kansas Capitol, providing a "significant warning" to Kansas farmers that they had brought on an ecological disaster.  For example, one idea that was suggested by Lewenthal was that the pitchfork be held in the same advancing motion as the soldiers’ guns. In an interview when asked what Curry's political views were, she told the interviewer that her husband read The Progressive. Curry avoided exploiting the controversial subjects in which Rivera became involved because, he did not believe they added any artistic quality to his work.  But Curry had other ideas when he responded with: "...it seems very doubtful whether it is strategic or desirable to use fear as the motive in picturing to them the needs of the war program. These inclusions were thought by some to show the state in a negative light because Brown, who was executed in 1859 for treason (leading an abolitionist raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia), was considered by some to be a traitor and a murderer. , This was devastating to Curry. The farmer is at leisure; the farm, its crops, and its animals are marvels of order, and seem to run themselves. As the family stands in the field, a gust of wind rips through the scene trying to uproot the children and disrupt the crops-just as the war threatens the farmer's land and family. Under Mrs. Whitney's patronage Curry painted Tornado over Kansas, which depicts a farmer facing an approaching tornado while he and his wife help the family and animals into the tornado shelter. While teaching at the Art Student’s League and Cooper Union in New York City, Curry rejected the impersonal quality of industrialism to favor subject matter … "John Steuart Curry Obituaries", College Art Journal. But, in 1916 Curry left the family farm for good. As put by Meyer Schapiro, "Regionalism obscured the crucial forces of history, as defined by Marx, and provided entertaining distractions from the realities facing oppressed people. John Curry wanted to come home to Kansas last year , tried to get some sort of a status in some Kansas college.  Located "above the entrance to the Justice Department library" is Curry's painting, Law vs. Mob Rule in which a judge in black robes protects a man who has collapsed on the courthouse steps from a lynch mob. Curry was thought of in his day as the great Kansas painter,:21 and it was no secret that he wanted to paint murals for Kansas; he confirmed this to a reporter. , The government used posters to advertise as technique during the First World War. He remained there until his death in 1946. So John Curry has gone to Wisconsin State university [the University of Wisconsin] where they have provided a job for him and where be is known as 'an [artist] in residence.' :17–19 While at Wisconsin he completed in 1942 a 37 feet (11 m) by 14 feet (4.3 m) mural on the Emancipation Proclamation, titled Freeing of the Slaves. His subjects were taken from American history and his most famous mural, The Tragic Prelude (1938–40), is in Topeka at the Kansas State Capitol. The depiction of the same in his paintings had as consequence the reservations some Kansans felt about seeing him, without qualification, as Kansas's great painter. , Despite popularity in the rest of the country, Curry's works did not find favor in Kansas. The one for the state capitol building in Topeka, Kansas (1938–40), has as its subject matter the turbulent events associated with the abolitionist John Brown. Rather, he enjoyed observing public events and capturing them on paper. Still Life with Flowers, Vase and Statue of..., 1940. , In 1936, Curry was appointed as the first artist-in-residence at the College of Agriculture of the University of Wisconsin, which built him a small studio. He was surprised when these plans met with local resentment.:124. He remarried in 1934 to Kathleen Gould. Moreover, artists were told to use objects that could stand for a whole, like a flag signifying a nation or a bomb meaning war, so that they would not require any text on the poster. "I want to picture what I feel about my native state. He did not believe in political propaganda, particularly the Marxist kind that Diego Rivera popularized in the 1930s. In 1926 he spent a year studying in Europe, and upon his return he received his first encouragement and support from Mrs. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. The Lindbergh kidnapping and John Dillinger's crime spree were well known and public deaths such as lynchings were often the result of such crimes. Contact The Studio. Curry's paintings were entertaining and easy to grasp, and allowed viewers to see a more primitive, isolated, non-commercial version of America. Quite simply, the posters were meant to inform, influence and guide Americans’ behavior toward a certain political ideology. He saw the war only as a setback in the progress the nation had made since that last world war, and thus ending the progress made in the world of art. Learned something, also, from the Louvre and have been trying since to carry out my ideas of how an American should paint. "John Steuart Curry: Inventing the Middle West," June 13, – August 30, 1998. "John Brown's Body" was the marching song of Union soldiers. Curry’s most famous mural, The Tragic Prelude (1938–40), is in Topeka at the Kansas State Capitol.  Located "above the entrance to the Justice Department library" is Curry's painting, Law vs. Mob Rule in which a judge in black robes protects a man who has collapsed on the courthouse steps from a lynch mob. The painting was unveiled in 1929 just before the Wall Street Crash in October and provided those in the city with the romance of man versus nature themes. Think you know your artists? , Brown's role during the Bleeding Kansas period—he was also an Underground Railroad conductor—was not widely remembered outside of Kansas. Typical of a Curry work, the weather alludes to the underlying stress of the war. :22 The painting was praised in the New York Times and earned Curry the attention of Mrs. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. In addition to the "Keep It Ours" caption, "Long May It Wave" was placed at the bottom of the pamphlet, referencing the "amber waves of grain" of the song "America the beautiful" and the second stanza of the "Star Spangled Banner". John Steuart Curry (November 14, 1897 – August 29, 1946) was an American painter whose career spanned the years from 1924 until his death. , Curry was one of the three great painters of American regionalistic art; the others were Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood. They are responding to incentives that are on a much higher plane and more effective than fear." , Tragic Prelude puts Brown in front of the troops killing each other. , In 1992 the Kansas Legislature apologized for its treatment of Curry, and purchased the drawings related to his murals. The Return of Private Davis, completed in 1940, was first witnessed near his home in 1918, and a similar study was made in France during 1926. , This mural is nine foot by 19 feet eight inch. He also commonly sketched the soldiers as they maneuvered their way through obstacle and infiltration courses and demonstrations in the “Nazi Village,” and strafing. John Steuart Curry started his commission in early 1944 at Camp Barkeley eleven miles southwest of Abilene, Texas.
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