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Church Supper

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Image of Church Supper

Frank Hartley Anderson
American, 1891–1947
Martha Fort Anderson
American, 1885–1968

Church Supper

about 1936

Object Type: Print
Dimensions:
10 1/2 in. x 12 1/2 in. (26.67 cm x 31.75 cm)
Medium and Support: Wood engraving on paper
Accession Number: 1936.0113

Credit Line: Gift of the artist


Many artists in the Deep South of the early 20th century depicted Black social and religious practices, such as traditional church suppers and river baptisms. It wasn’t uncommon for white artists to observe, then sketch or photograph these occasions as sources for their work. This engraving uses shadows and lines to accentuate the animated conversations and feelings of togetherness around the supper table. The Andersons’ Black cook served as a model for the various women in Church Supper, and Martha’s sketch of a Black preacher she had encountered on a streetcar served as the source for the man in the foreground.

Frank Anderson was one of the earliest Alabama artists to sign up for the PWAP, at the then respectable salary of $45 per month. A native of Boston, Anderson studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cleveland School of art, and Harvard University. He came to Alabama to help design the city of Fairfield, living and working in Birmingham from 1917 to 1938. He married Martha while there, and they worked in tandem as artists and leaders of the local art scene, founding the Southern Printmakers Society in 1935.

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