Billy Morrow Jackson

Billy Morrow Jackson
1926 – 2006

A self-described American realist, Billy Morrow Jackson, actually pushed realism in metaphorical directions akin to the layers of social meaning found in the work of Edward Hopper. And he went as far as biting satire at times when he used his art to communicate his ideas of social justice during the decade of the Civil Rights Movement.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Jackson spent a good deal of his life in the Midwest, going to college at Washington University in St. Louis, attending graduate school at The University of Illinois, and then spending 33 years teaching at the University of Illinois at Champaign.

He also spent a great deal of time on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts in contact with other artists that spent summers there. During 1949-1950, he lived in Mexico, an experience that inspired many woodcuts, including the one here.

His subject matter ranges from Illinois landscapes to cityscapes with figures. He did interiors, social commentary, portraits, and a few murals. Jackson was at ease with drawing media, watercolor, oil paint, and printmaking, especially woodcuts. His woodcut designs are bold but, at the same time, have delicate nuances of texture which give his work a distinctly recognizable style.

His work is in more than 40 galleries and museums including the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Institution both in Washington, D.C., Boston Public Library, and Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y. The Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois presented his work in a retrospective exhibition in 1996.

“Good Year In Mexico”
Signed in pencil in margin
Edition # 14/15
Image size 16 ½” x 11 ¾ “
Sheet size is irregular but margins are generous