Mary E. Hutchinson’s “The Student”
December 12, 2011 § 1 Comment
I recently added “The Student” (c.1937) to my digital catalogue of Mary E. Hutchinson’s work.
The painting portrays an adolescent African-American girl seated at a student desk. Her pen is poised just above the paper filled with text she is composing – a gesture of reflection and thought within the action of writing which fits Hutchinson’s expressed idea of communication as a “controlled process. . . . caring enough to weigh each word. . .” The globe before the student is not centered on the western world, and the bookshelf to her side bears evidence of practical use with book spines unevenly aligned as though volumes have been pulled from the shelves, read, and returned.
Hutchinson likely painted “The Student” while working out of the Harlem Community Art Center as a supervisor of teachers for the New York Federal Art Project. She first exhibited the painting in 1937 at the Midtown Galleries in New York. She also included it in what proved to be her final solo exhibition held in 1950 at the West Hunter Street Library, the Carnegie Library which served Atlanta’s African-American community. After the exhibition, Hutchinson gave “The Student” to the library. It is now in the collection of the Auburn Avenue Research Library.
For more info on Hutchinson and to see “The Student” go to http://meh.omeka.net