Steamboat 'Round the Bend
McCrady was born in Canton, Mississippi and trained at the Art Students League in New York in the early 1930s with Thomas Hart Benton. This work is typical of his Regionalist images romanticizing life in the Old South and the expressive curvilinear forms reflect his artistic training with Benton. The print depicts the famous 1870 race between the Natchez and the Robert E. Lee, which marked a pinnacle in the sport of steamboat racing and attracted worldwide newspaper coverage. This work is a modernist updating of the steamboat theme made popular in Currier and Ives 19th century chromolithographs and reflects a similar democratic aim to make fine art more accessible through prints. However, McCrady’s idyllic view also catered to a regional nostalgia to use the theme of the Mississippi steamboat to recapture a sense of the South’s former cultural and economic power.