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Clare Leighton (1898-1989):
Alabama Barn (BPL 533), Tobacco Barn, from Southern Harvest, 1942
Framed (ref: 5459)
Original woodblock (cancelled)
1 1/2 x 3 1/8 in. (3.7 x 8 cm)
Provenance: The Artist's Estate
Alabama Barn, from which 50 woodcuts were editioned, appeared as one of the illustrations in the celebrated 1942 Macmillan publication Southern Harvest in which Leighton gave her graphic and written impressions of rural customs and agricultural rites that were still functioning in an increasingly industrialized South.
As Caroline Hickman has written:
Clare Leighton (1898-1989) created timeless impressions of agrarian life in England and the American South even as she witnessed the devastation wrought by the world wars and observed economic, social, and political unrest on the two continents during the interwar years. At face value, her wood engravings depicting agrarian life appear not to relate to these tumultuous world events and seem a stalwart continuation of the English pastoral tradition. While her graphic work continued an idealized, even nostalgic view of rural life, it was also a rebuttal of specific contemporary circumstances. Leighton's imagery, when read with her prose, is an intensely personal commentary on the foremost issues confronting mankind during her time war and mechanization, social and economic inequality, the gentrification of the countryside, and the spiritual poverty caused by these societal ills.
We are grateful to David Leighton and Caroline Hickman for assistance.