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Walter Anderson's works on display

By Staff
Aug. 31, 2002
In conjunction with the Meridian Symphony Orchestra's season opening concert, Meridian Museum of Art will display works by artist Walter Anderson.
Meridian Community College art instructor John Marshall will talk about Walter Anderson and his work at a reception from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. at the museum Saturday.
Immediately following the reception, the symphony will present its first concert of the season including, among the pieces performed, "A Sensation of Music: Works by Walter Anderson."
The museum and symphony events about Anderson are being presented in honor of the Walter Anderson Centennial Celebration.
Anderson was born in New Orleans in 1903. His mother was an artist, and her passion for art, music, and literature strongly influenced him. He attained degrees from the Parsons Institute of Design in New York and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where in 1927 he received a Cresson Fellowship to study in Paris.
In 1929 he returned to the United States. He settled in Ocean Springs, married, and worked at Shearwater Pottery, founded by his brother, Peter.
In the 1930s he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was hospitalized for three years. In 1940, he moved with his wife and children to Oldfields, the family home in Gautier where he did linocut prints of epic voyages and depictions of folklore and mythology.
He left his family to live alone in a small cabin on the Gulf Coast in 1947. There he lived and worked for the last 18 years of his life, drawing and painting the flora and fauna of the Gulf Coast, frequently visiting uninhabited Horn Island.
He painted in the open and sometimes used his boat as a tent. He endured extreme weather conditions, tying himself to trees to experience the force of hurricanes. He died at the age of 62, succumbing to lung cancer.
After his death, his family discovered a large amount of work in what was called the "little room," a place at his home where he worked for nearly 20 years by himself.
There he created enormous murals covering 2,500 square feet, depicting scenes of American Indian culture and the arrival of French explorers. Today his life and his artistic genius are remembered at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs.
The Walter Anderson exhibit and reception are sponsored in part by a grant from the Meridian Council for the Arts, and both exhibits are supported by the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Riley Foundation and the city of Meridian.

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