Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Lone Star Regionalism

Lone Star Regionalism by Rick Stewart

This book, published in 1985 by Rick Stewart, remains today a ground-breaking study of the Regional art movement in Texas. Stewart's solid research and deep understanding of Regionalism make this volume the essential starting-place for anyone interested in learning about the artists who worked in this school of expression during the 1930s. Regionalism as an intellectual concept gained great currency in American life during the 1920s and 1930s. Its artistic orientation proved to be narrative and descriptive. As such, it was allied with the American Scene then popularized by artists including Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, and James Stuart Curry. It gained currency in Dallas during the 1930s. Texas Regionalists centered their art on themes sometimes filled with “country folks and pastoral landscapes.” Regionalism was movement that celebrated the common folk while at the same time it sought to include them as part of its intended audience, especially in the area of public art. This proved a comfortable notion for Allie Tennant because her artistic training had always valued the social importance of public art. As did other Regionalists, she saw such artistic expression as art for the people, drawn from the wellsprings of the people themselves, celebrating the role of the common person. Rick Stewart's book provides a full discussion of this movement in Texas.