Avondale Mills Advertising Originals (Oil Paintings by Douglass Crockwell)
October 15 through January 08, 2012
Douglass Crockwell (1904–1968), one of America’s top illustrators, visited Alabama in 1947 to make paintings for a series of advertisements that Avondale Mills ran in The Saturday Evening Post in 1947 and 1948. He selected employees of the textile company and their children to model for 18 paintings, a half-dozen of which are included in this exhibition—images that contrast radically with the Depression Era art made just a dozen years earlier in the concurrent exhibition, 1934: A New Deal for Artists.
Crockwell’s paintings convey the sense of optimism, financial success, and family strength that Avondale Mills, Alabama’s largest textile manufacturer at the time, wanted to communicate about the company and its 7000 employees as the nation surged into prosperity following World War II. The paintings’ titles are telling: A Saving Wage, That Home of One’s Dream, An Enduring Partnership, Independence, America’s Sense of Beauty, The Fabric of America, and The Fabric of Mankind. Crockwell’s paintings champion Avondale Mills, its employees, and their values of hard work, good health, financial security, and family—values shared with Avondale Mills’ customers.
Organized by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama.
Douglass Crockwell, The Fabric of America, 1948, oil on panel, B.B. Comer Memorial Library, Sylacauga, Alabama