Jean Watson, Culm Banks

Jean Watson: Culm Banks (1945) Oil on canvas
Culm Banks
Oil on canvas
Credit Line
Museum purchase, 1945

Culm Banks suggests artist Jean Watson's interest in abstract color and shape. Subdued tones of warm grays and deep reds and browns fill the large, curving shapes of overlapping mountains and simplified clouds. Tiny rectangles of red in the distance represent a train. Its column of gray smoke rises to the sky in gestural brushstrokes, a strong vertical contrast to the horizontal mountains, where strokes of light color curve along the edges. While small in scale, this landscape evokes a sense of grandeur.

Jean Watson was born in Philadelphia and attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She taught kindergarten in Philadelphia public schools and resumed painting in 1934. After winning a nationwide government competition, Watson created murals for United States post Offices in Stoughton, Massachusetts, and Madison, North Carolina. Her work has been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the National Academy of Design, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

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