Mississippi Art Hit Hard by Katrina October 6, 2005Posted by Leita in Art, Hurricane, Southern Living.
I didn’t post here yesterday.
Too stunned, I suppose, after reading about the art of Walter Anderson in Mercury News.
Walter Inglis Anderson (1903-1965) was an artist from Ocean Springs, Mississippi. If the name doesn’t ring a bell chances are his style will. He inspired many artists who wound up more famous than he ever wanted to be. He just wanted to paint. And draw. And make pottery. And write. And sail.
Anderson’s output was staggering. He worked in oil, watercolor, pen and ink, and pencil. He sculpted in wood, crafted furniture, carved and decorated pottery, and cut large linoleum blocks for print making. He also produced stained glass and hooked rugs. For Anderson, art was not a product but a process, a means of experiencing the world. His drawing, prints, and watercolors celebrated the natural rhythms of the weather, the seasons, the sea, and the cycles of plants, flowers, and animals. His abiding interest in nature combined with his strong sense of design and color, his avid intellectual curiosity, and his bold imagination have made his works distinctive and timeless.
Mainly, he wanted to be left alone.
Almost a neighbor, his favorite haunts were mine, too. Horn Island, Petit Buoy Island. Anderson’s interpretation of the Gulf Coast and his belief that art stems from Maugard’s The Seven Motifs inspired me to pick up pen, graphite and paint pretty darn late in life. His wife, Agnes Grinstead Anderson, wrote about her strange husband in the book, “Approaching the Magic Hour.”
As Katrina made landfall, I feared his work–much of it fragile watercolors–would be damaged. It was. Locked up on the family grounds, the floodwater and wind breached the vault, slinging some of it into the trees and soaking some in water and mud. His son estimates 90% of Anderson’s works were damaged.
The Anderson family believes his work should remain where it was created so Anderson’s work remains in his family’s private collection and does not qualify for federal money to restore it. Some pieces, including a portion of the Walls of Light, were donated to the Walter Anderson Museum, also located in Ocean Springs. Those pieces survived. They’re not wealthy; just like many along the coast they grieve over the loss of their old family homes while struggling to save Walter’s work.
Wade through the links above and soak up the images. If you know anyone who is proficient in art restoration, let them know.
Pray for this beautiful family.