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Walking RaddyThe Baby Dolls of New Orleans$
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Kim Vaz-Deville

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781496817396

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496817396.001.0001

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John McCrady’s “Southern Eccentric” Regionalism

John McCrady’s “Southern Eccentric” Regionalism

“Negro Maskers” from the Mardi Gras Day Series of 1948

(p.235) John McCrady’s “Southern Eccentric” Regionalism
Walking Raddy

Mora J. Beauchamp-Byrd

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines a 1948 lithograph entitled Negro Maskers by New Orleans-based Southern Regionalist painter John McCrady (1911-1968), who produced the image for Mardi Gras Day, a book project completed with fellow artists Ralph Wickiser and Caroline Durieux. It documents McCrady’s conception of the southern US, in the decade following the Depression, as a site of singular “folk” distinction, rendered unique by picturesque scenery, African American cultural expressions, dockside scenes along the Mississippi, and carnivalesque traditions such as the Baby Doll masqueraders. Negro Maskers’ stylistic references to EI Greco, Mannerism, American Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton, and dream-like Symbolism will be discussed, charting how the image fits snugly into McCrady’s cultivation of a “Southern Eccentric” aesthetic. Above all, McCrady's print will be examined within the context of other sentimentalized, yet often subversive, images of southern, vernacular U.S. culture that distinguished his work from that of Midwestern-centered American Regionalist painters.

Keywords:   American Regionalist, John McCrady, Depression, vernacular, carnivalesque

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