Bill Traylor, Sketch for New South Mural
North America, American, Alabama
24 in. x 15 1/4 in. (60.96 cm x 38.74 cm)
Medium and Support:
Gouache on paper
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard H. Arrington III, in memory of Mrs. Richard H. Arrington, Sr.
When Charles Shannon saw self-taught artist's Bill Traylor's drawings for the first time in the summer of 1939, he was awestruck by their independent and creative vision. He spent countless hours with Traylor, marveling at the evolution of his artistic development. Earlier that year, Shannon and several other artists had organized a cooperative art space in downtown Montgomery called New South. Shannon painted an eight-foot mural of Traylor on one of New South's walls. The mural has since been destroyed, yet its likeness is documented in this preliminary sketch by Shannon. Shannon depicts Traylor at work in his "sidewalk studio" with pencil and straight edge in hand. The blank squares at his feet represent the drawings that surrounded Traylor as he worked. Shannon reproduced several of Traylor's drawings for the mural.