Earl Cunningham: Painting an American Eden

Robert Hobbs, Author
Robert Hobbs, Author ABRAMS $39.95 (140p) ISBN 978-0-8109-3189-3
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A self-taught vernacular painter of engaging directness, Earl Cunningham (1893-1977) presents an unspoiled vision of America. In his jewel-like canvases, early Norse ships and Native American canoes ply the same waters with late 19th-century schooners; harbors take on biblical overtones as places of refuge; and the folk conventions of painters like Grandma Moses and Edward Hicks are reinvented through the eclectic technique of an artist conversant with the Fauves and Symbolists. Inspired by the Maine coast of his childhood, and by Florida where he settled in 1949, Cunningham's pictures distill a paradoxically halcyon and troubling vision of what America could have been and might still be. This profusely illustrated catalogue of a traveling exhibit includes a sophisticated analysis of Cunningham's art by exhibit curator Hobbs, an art history professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. (Mar.)
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