Brown Bag Book Review off to a good start

Published 1:45 pm Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The fall season begins for the “Brown Bag Book Review” on Tuesday, September 22 at 12 noon in the conference room of the Crosby Memorial Library.

Mrs. Shirley Stough will be reviewing “Approaching the Magic Hour” by Agnes Grinstead Anderson.

The memoir is a detailing of Anderson’s personal memories of her husband, Walter Inglis Anderson.

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Anderson began writing the book shortly after her husband’s death in 1965 and the book answers many of the questions admirers of her husband’s art have long been asking — what was it like to be married to this demonic creator so imbued with his art that conventions of ordinary life seemed not to matter.

Born in 1903 in New Orleans, Walter Anderson traveled across Europe following his art education in New York and Pennsylvania.

He was a complicated man deeply interested in poetry, history, natural science and art history, while he also buried himself in reading books of all kinds including folklore, mythology, and philosophy.

He returned to this area, marrying Agnes, a graduate of Radcliff College, and they settled in Ocean Springs where he worked at a pottery shop, Shearwater Pottery, owned by his brother.

In the 1930s, Anderson first began battling mental illness and soon found himself recuperating at the home of Agnes’ father in Gauthier. While he was there, he produced a large number of compelling works of art.

But Anderson struggled with his demons and in 1947 left his wife and children and moved to a cottage on the Shearwater property.

For the next 18 years, he would spend long periods of time on the Gulf Coast barrier islands, rowing there in a small skiff with his art supplies.

It is some of these pieces that has made such an impact on the art world. By becoming almost one with the islands, Anderson drew and painted the birds, fauna, animals and insects of these barrier islands, leaving behind a legacy of evocative and intense art work.

The reviewer for the Brown Bag Book Review, Mrs. Strough, knows as a long time educator in the local school system, will give a great review of this outstanding book.

So, make plans to join the group as Mrs. Strough takes the audience into the life of a tormented genius and the affect he had on his family and the Gulf Coast he called home.

Bring a bag lunch, and drinks and dessert will be provided by the Friends of the Library.