FLORIDA'S ART TRADITION
Although 1910 marks the end of one era, it also is the beginning of another that continues to 1950. An era that is little researched and remains an unknown factor in the equation of Florida's art tradition.
To understand why this period of Florida's history may not have been a fertile environment for painters and the creation of art we need to understand several things. One, there were distractions! Two, art, to flourish, requires a market. Think about those distractions. The Spanish American War, the First World War, a depression, a land boom, a land bust, the Second World War. Floridians, like all Americans, were distracted.
It could have been a period in which regional art flourished. The ingredients were in place. Floridians, both natural and naturalized, had begun to awaken to a sense of identity. The struggles, the trials and tribulations, and all the events that had gone before, became, by firtue of time and the alchemy of the mind, their heritage. Art, the perfect medium for presenting and preserving that heritage, should have flourished but unfortunately there were too many distractions. Art would have to wait.
There may be artistic expectations that could redeem this period. Call them "diamonds in teh rough". Paintings that have not been discovered due to the lack of prospectors. Some are coming to light, more will follow. An example of undiscovered work might be the paintings produced by artists who were enrolled in the Works Progress Administrations Federal Arts Project. More easily referred to as the WPA/FAP. These artists, who were required to validate their careers in order to participate, are for the most part ignored by collecting institutions and private collectors. A big mistake!
On to a new era... 1950 and forward.