Journey of the Mann Family, from "The Richard Wright Suite"

John Wilson American
Printer James Stroud American
Publisher Center Street Studio

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 690

Throughout his life and work, Wilson drew inspiration from the writer Richard Wright, whose stories made him feel a sense of brotherhood with Black communities in the American South and their struggles. In 2001, the artist illustrated Wright’s short story "Down by the Riverside" (1938). Wilson considered technique and subject matter as intertwined elements of this project, drawing a close connection between the etching and aquatint techniques and the dark atmosphere of the flooding. This illustration shows the main characters, Brother Mann and Lulu, rushing to the hospital on a boat in a downpour. The scene encapsulates the book’s premise of a husband endeavoring to get his wife medical attention right before she gives birth—all amid the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927.

Journey of the Mann Family, from "The Richard Wright Suite", John Wilson (American, Roxbury, Massachusetts 1922–2015 Brookline, Massachusetts), Etching with aquatint

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