Help me find this painting...
June 9, 2008 6:01 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a painting that I saw in the St. Louis Art Museum years ago. In my memory, it is of an African-American family on the roof of their house as flood waters circle around them. The father's hands are outstretched in a plea to heaven. I originally thought the artist was Earnie Barnes but I can't find it on his site or anywhere else on the Internets. I am convinced that the painting is in the "Ernie Barnes style" if that helps. Help me please!
posted by delosic to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Thomas Hart Benton?
posted by Science! at 6:10 PM on June 9, 2008

Thanks but no. The style is similar but, at least according to the images of his work that I find on the web, there is no match.
posted by delosic at 7:38 PM on June 9, 2008

Have you emailed any of the people on this page?
posted by donpardo at 7:43 PM on June 9, 2008

I know the painting that you are talking about, but I can't remember its name or the artist who painted it. If I recall correctly, it is set at night, and the water surrounding the house is moving swiftly. I think the painting is a little more subdued than Earnie Barnes style.

It has been about two years since I was last at the St. Louis Art Museum, but I specifically remember this painting. It was displayed prominently last time I was there. I two would like to know the answer to this question.
posted by PhillC at 8:28 PM on June 9, 2008

Damn. I have a book with that painting in it, but it is in storage. :@

If it's not THB, my next best guess is George Caleb Bingham.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:43 PM on June 9, 2008

I believe that it might be John Steuart Curry's Mississippi Noah.
posted by pogo at 9:07 PM on June 9, 2008

This suggests it could be Curry even if that linked image doesn't match exactly, because Curry produced several similar ones:

"Curry, recalling the 1927 Mississippi flood, produced a lithograph titled Mississippi Noah (1932), as well as a tempera painting of essentially the same composition titled Mississippi (1935, St. Louis Art Museum). Both of these depict an African-American family who have taken refuge atop a wooden shack, which appears to be floating down the flooding river. Conceptually, these two works make the same essential statement as the various works titled Sanctuary."

And some of Curry's other works is more in the exaggerated bold-color style that might explain why it felt similar to Barnes.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:08 AM on June 10, 2008

Yes - The Mississippi, 1935 - this has to be the one described in the quote above as being held by the St Louis Art Museum, and it's set at night.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:10 AM on June 10, 2008

LobsterMitten wins the prize. Thanks so much. You have my gratitude! That is exactly the painting that I remember!
posted by delosic at 6:03 AM on June 10, 2008

(It's all down to pogo's knowing the guy, though.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:47 AM on June 10, 2008

As LobsterMitten points out, the prize is shared with Pogo! Sorry to initially forget to menttion you Pogo. Thanks everyone for the great responses!
posted by delosic at 10:48 AM on June 10, 2008

Ah, no worries -- glad to be of help!
posted by pogo at 10:51 AM on June 10, 2008

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