Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ahead, in the Clouds

Robert Capps

Walter Inglis Anderson (1903-1965)
Walter Inglis Anderson's work exemplifies naturalism. Born in New Orleans to a prominent family, Anderson's father was a grain merchant, and his mother was an artist. Anderson spent lots of time out on his family's land, observing natural phenomena. After moving to Pennsylvania, Anderson won the Packard Award by placing first in an animal drawing contest out of the entire student body. From this, he won a scholarship to travel to France where he encountered cave paintings, which significantly influenced his work. During the Great Depression, Anderson worked for the WPA painting murals. In 1937, Anderson was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was placed in many different psychiatric hospitals but devised various plans of escape and carried them out each time he was moved.

As seen in the painting above, Anderson made use of primary colors such as yellow and blue to create a simple but captivating scene. The contour lines clearly define each object in the painting, including the horizon's separation of the earth from the sky. In this painting, Anderson forces the audience's eye to the sky by filling the majority of the canvas with clouds and the sun and by painting the trees' lines as if they are being drawn toward the sun; this gives the impression that one is looking into the sky.

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