Books by Mississippi Writers 1996-2010
By Eudora Welty University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $20.00, ISBN: 1578064872, 3/2002) Welty’s graceful, appreciative essay about one of the South’s notable painters. William Hollingsworth, Jr., and Eudora Welty were Mississippi contemporaries who began their careers in the arts almost simultaneously. Just as the Great Depression struck the nation, both were finishing their educations in big cities—Welty at Columbia University in New York, Hollingsworth at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago. This keepsake book uniting these two acclaimed Mississippi artists and their work gives the pleasure of encountering Welty as an art critic and of meeting an astonishingly talented painter she admired. In 1958, after seeing a large posthumous exhibition of his paintings at the Jackson Municipal Art Gallery, Welty wrote this critical appreciation. It appeared in the Clarion-Ledger, the local newspaper, and has never been reprinted until now. Accompanying Welty’s essay are full-color plates of eleven Hollingsworth paintings she mentions or to which she makes reference. An afterword puts the work of Hollingsworth and Welty in the context of time, place, and circumstance. A chronology shows how Hollingsworth was a rising star whose life was cut short. As young Mississippians who had been schooled away from home, they returned to Jackson during hard times but were afforded a serendipitous gift—a sense of place that became a resource for their art. Although both longed to connect with the mainstream of the art world in the North, Hollingsworth and Welty discovered the significance of regional roots. A great American writer, Welty had a career that lasted for nearly seventy years. Hollingsworth’s lasted for only one decade. He died in 1944 at the age of thirty-four. She died at the age of ninety-two in 2001. Two of his watercolors that she bought in the 1930s still hang in her home.