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Southern Landscape (Southern Flood)

Eldzier Cortor

American Art

On View: American Identities: A New Look, Everyday Life/A Nation Divided, 5th Floor
At the time he painted Southern Landscape, Eldzier Cortor was one of a number of rising young African American artists who had received their training at the Art Institute of Chicago and begun their careers as employees of the Federal Art Project of Illinois, under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration. Already committed to a Realist style and to African American subjects, Cortor was on his way to the Georgia Sea Islands when he was inspired to paint this image of a languid young couple picnicking near a valley flooded by the recent construction of a hydroelectric dam. Cortor endowed the muscular figures with a calm stoicism, modeling their facial features on the fixed and planar forms of African masks. Mr. Cortor commented recently, "[The painting] was created from my feelings in the face of devastation, and the two figures represent youth with hope." Cortor exhibited this work in a number of pivotal exhibitions of African American art, including The Negro Artist Comes of Age, which toured to the Brooklyn Museum in 1945.
MEDIUM Tempera and gesso on board
DATES ca. 1939-1940
DIMENSIONS 20 x 34 in. (50.8 x 86.4 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Adler and bequest of Laura L. Barnes, by exchange
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CAPTION Eldzier Cortor (American, born 1916). Southern Landscape (Southern Flood), ca. 1939-1940. Tempera and gesso on board, 20 x 34 in. (50.8 x 86.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Adler and bequest of Laura L. Barnes, by exchange, 2006.2. © Eldzier Cortor
IMAGE overall, 2006.2_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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