MMA presents Civil War drawings

MMA presents Civil War drawings

JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the Mississippi Museum of Art

The Mississippi Museum of Art (the Museum) is pleased to present Civil War Drawings from the Becker Collection, on view January 31 - April 19, 2015. The exhibition provides an opportunity for visitors to view important works recently documented as those of Joseph Becker and his fellow artists who were employed by Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper in the 19th Century. The Museum's presentation of these important works commemorates the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, emancipation, and the steps toward reunification of the nation.

The first-hand drawings selected for this exhibition, most of which have never been published, document in lively and specific ways key developments in the history of America as it struggled to establish its national identity. The exhibition contains more than 85 original drawings, many made on battlefields and in the barracks of locations like Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Gettysburg.

"In the realm of recording and reporting the news, the Becker Collection is uniquely valuable because it marks the end of one tradition and the beginning of the next - from the world of images transcribed by drawings and transmitted by the printing press to the world of photography and all that followed," said Roger Ward, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Museum. "Great battles were the crucial events of the War Between the States, as vast audiences on both sides of every encounter awaited some news of its outcome. It would be hard to exaggerate the dramatic impact of these panoramic drawings and the reproductions made from them, shared by millions who prayed for the best but expected the worst."

The artists in the collection include Henri Lovie, Edward F. Mullen, Frederic B. Schell, Joseph Becker, Andrew McCallum, James E. Taylor, William T. Crane, Edwin Forbes, Edward S. Hall, Arthur Lumley, William R. McComas, Charles E.H. Bonwill, Francis H. Schell, John F.E. Hillen, S.A. Coleman, A.M., A.H. von Luettwitz, among others. Each profoundly influenced the mass media and news outlets of the day during a time when photography was on the outset as a new technology. Viewers will be able to explore the role these artists played as reporters, documentarians, and creators who translated with pencil and pad both the maelstrom and daily life of war.

"Art has always played a role in documenting and interpreting important historical events, and these original drawings are a prime example of that salience," said Betsy Bradley, Director of the Museum. "The power of these drawings lies in their authenticity. These fragile works on paper have survived the chaos of battle and the intervening century and a half. As we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, this exhibition provides visitors an opportunity to reflect, through the lens of art, on the impact that the conclusion of the war and the ushering in of emancipation have had in shaping the development of the nation."

The exhibition is accompanied by an exhibition catalogue published by the University of Chicago Press. Cost: $10 adults, $8 seniors, $5 students. FREE children 5 and under, FREE Museum members.

The Mississippi Museum of Art's mission is to "engage Mississippians in the visual arts." The Museum is located at 380 South Lamar Street in Jackson. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday, noon to 5 PM. The Museum is closed Monday. For more information about the Mississippi Museum of Art's exhibitions, programs, and special events, please call 601-960-1515 or 1-866-VIEW ART (843-9278), or visit