BATON ROUGE, LA — Beginning in August, the LSU Museum of Art will present Walter Inglis Anderson’s unique observations of the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s flora, fauna and landscape in the exhibition, “Walter Inglis Anderson: Everything I See is New and Strange.”
Highlighting more than 60 watercolor and oil paintings, prints and printing plates, pen and ink drawings, and pottery, the exhibition will be on display in the museum, located on the fifth floor of the Shaw Center for the Arts in downtown Baton Rouge, beginning on Aug. 2 and running through Oct. 13.
An American artist, Anderson illustrated the natural world vividly and with passion. His paintings, drawings, prints, pottery and sculptures capture the flora and fauna of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and continue to captivate the imaginations of viewers more than 60 years after their creation.
Born in New Orleans in 1903, Anderson studied at the Parsons School of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and at art schools throughout Europe. He was familiar with the aesthetics and ideas that influenced his contemporaries, but his passion for nature led him away from the art centers of New York and Paris to the natural setting of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. From the 1940s until his death in 1965, the “artist who preferred nature to art” lived a life of solitude and discovery, making frequent trips to Horn Island, a narrow barrier island that lies between the coast of Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico. Today, Horn Island is preserved and protected by the Gulf Island National Seashore. It was this natural world that most imbued his art.
Anderson lived for weeks at a time on Horn Island, equipped with only artist’s tools, paints, paper, a small boat and enough food to survive. Alone and without shelter, he weathered the elements and several hurricanes, while keeping journals and documenting his natural surroundings.
“This morning I drew bulrushes while the flies stung,” Anderson remarked in his journal. “Later I made a watercolor under my boat while the rain poured. Such is the life of an artist who prefers nature to art. He really should cultivate art more but feels his love of art will take care of itself as long as it has things to feed upon.”
“Walter Anderson spent most of his life exploring the wonders of nature along the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said LSU Museum of Art Executive Director Jordana Pomeroy. “He absorbed the environment around him, recording a fresh – and often strange – vision of the world.”
Anderson portrayed a strange and beautiful environment with a passion that resulted in thousands of works of art. Lawrence Campbell, art critic for Art in America, recognized Anderson as a significant southern artist, writing, “Originality merits [Anderson] an honored place in the history of American 20th-century art.” His significance as an artist lies in the visual way Anderson conveyed the precarious balance of nature, a theme that is relevant to the Gulf South today.
“Walter Inglis Anderson: Everything I See is New and Strange” was developed by the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, in conjunction with the family of Walter Anderson, and is made possible in part by support from the Charles Lamar Family Fund, Louisiana Machinery Co., The Imo N. Brown Memorial Fund and Nedra Sue Davis & Nicole Pellitteri. For more information on supporting exhibitions, please contact Fairleigh Cook Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The LSU Museum of Art will also present a series of exciting educational programs including lectures, gallery talks, art making workshops and interactive school tours for all ages, designed to further explore the exhibition. For more information or to schedule a tour, please contact Lucy Perera, LSU Museum of Art coordinator of school and community programs, at email@example.com  or call 225-389-7207.
General admission to the LSU Museum of Art is $5 each for adults and children age 13 and over. Admission is free to university faculty, staff and students with ID, children age 12 and under and museum members. Hours of operation are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.lsumoa.com  or call 225-389-7200.
Saturday, Sept. 14 - 10:30 a.m.
Saturday Arts for Families: Alphabet Art
Be inspired by Walter Inglis Anderson’s exhibition and learn about the artist’s life and passions including his alphabet books. Then get to work in the Art Lab Studio creating alphabet prints of your favorite letter. Admission is $5 per child, with free admission to museum members at family level.