DescriptionMERRITT MAUZEY (1897-1973)
Loading Cotton, 1930s
Oil on linen
20 x 24 inches (50.8 x 61.0 cm)
Signed lower left
Merritt Mauzey is one of the great chroniclers of the American agrarian life and rural society. He experienced life as a sharecropper first hand, rather than as an observer. This gave him a unique perspective beyond all other artists. The result is historically important, stylistically dead-on for that era of regionalism, and in execution, inspired. It is why Mauzey was the first Texan to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship. and why the Smithsonian has seventy-five of his prints.
Loading Cotton is another painting in the series of oils Merritt Mauzey created documenting the cotton industry. It is based on Mauzey's experience working for a cotton exporter. Mauzey knew, and had worked in, every aspect of the cotton business from his early days as a sharecropper, to his days working as a clerk at a cotton gin, to his days working for a cotton-exporting firm.
Mauzey was acutely aware that the U.S. cotton market was dependent on exports. American cotton farmers produced much more cotton than the country used domestically. In this painting, what appear to be Chinese Coolies, are loading the cotton onto a ship. From start to finish, the cotton industry was dependent on lots of backbreaking manual labor.
Acquired from the artist by the present owner
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