Georgia Museum of Art

University of Georgia

Athens, GA



Prints of the Midwest by Jackson Lee Nesbitt on View at the Georgia Museum of Art


The Georgia Museum of Art will host the exhibition Jackson Lee Nesbitt: Prints from the Collection of S. William and Leona Pelletier from March 30 through June 13, 1999, in the Knox Gallery of Prints and Drawings. A student of Midwestern Regionalist Thomas Hart Benton, Jackson Lee Nesbitt (b. 1913) has created a body of prints recalling rural life in the Midwest during the Great Depression. The exhibition contains 27 prints and two drawings from the collection of S. William and Leona Pelletier of Athens and is accompanied by gallery notes written by Patricia Phagan, curator of prints and drawings and organizer of the exhibition.

Born in McAlester, Oklahoma, Nesbitt studied at the Kansas City Art Institute in the 1930s and early 1940s, where he worked with Benton and Regionalist painter John de Martelly. As a student and a young artist, he created numerous paintings and prints largely in the American Scene tradition of familiar, everyday subject matter.

In the etching November Evening, for example, a farmer rides on his horse through the center of a countryside.Phagan describes the work as "drawn in great, loving detail, the split-rail fence, grasses and fields, and finger-like clouds of dusk framing the composition. Nesbitt executed the scene with fine networks of infinitesimal lines, flecks and crosshatchings, which were drawn on a wax-covered plate and etched in stages, the resulting crevices filled with ink, and. lastly, the plate printed." Left: November Evening, 1946, etching printed in black ink on cream wove paper, 8 7/8 x 11 15/16 inches

According to Nesbitt, "Tom Benton and I were on a trip together and were making a drawing of this muddy road when the old guy on the horse rode by. Thinking we were surveyors, he allowed the road could stand some 'fixin' up."

In the 1950s, as interest in Regionalism waned, Nesbitt turned to commercial art. Much later, in the 1980s, in the midst of a nationwide renewed appreciation of art from the Depression years, he returned to printmaking and created a number of lithographs with imagery inspired by previous works and by his life in the Midwest.

The exhibition is generously sponsored by Director's Circle member Martin E. Segal.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 9/20/10

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