C. Griffith Mann Deputy Director and Chief Curator
Jared French (American, 1905-1988)
tempera on canvas mounted to panel, Unframed: 54.5 x 29.2 x 0.7 cm (21 7/16 x 11 7/16 x 1/4 in.). John L. Severance Fund 2012.31
French was well regarded during the 1940s and â€™50s as one of the most accomplished and fascinating magic realist painters. A still understudied group of artists, the magic realists revived painstaking old master techniques to make convincing their enigmatic images that address a wide range of personal and social concerns. Part of a series of works French made to chronicle the human condition, Evasion symbolizes an individualâ€™s attempt to deny the physical self. As such, the painting manifests tensions regarding sexual mores in mid 20th-century America. While it is reductive to attribute Frenchâ€™s iconographic interest in Evasion solely to his bisexuality, the fact remains that French was one of the first American artists whose same-sex desires were recognized and acknowledged by contemporaries who viewed his work.
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