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In Memory of Marshall J. Bouldin III

Friday, November 16, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Alumni Relations
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Marshall J. Bouldin III (SACI 1941-1946), a Mississippi portrait artist whose paintings hung in the White House and the halls of Congress, and whose subjects included 20th-century Southern political leaders, President Richard M. Nixon’s daughters and William Faulkner, died on Monday in Memphis. He was 89.

Having one’s portrait painted by Mr. Bouldin was for many decades considered one of the ultimate perks of power in the South. He painted investment bankers in Nashville and prominent developers in Atlanta; Senator John C. Stennis of Mississippi; Representative Claude Pepper of Florida; and Jim Wright of Texas, the speaker of the House. And he painted Ronald McNair, a crew member killed in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger; the portrait hangs in the planetarium named for him in Jackson, Miss.

Mr. Bouldin, the son of the most prominent cotton farmer in Clarksdale, was in his 30s before he fully committed to becoming an artist. He had studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and worked as an illustrator in New York for a few years, but then returned to Clarksdale to manage the family’s cotton farm in the early 1950s.

"I knew I wasn’t cut out to be a farmer,” he said in an interview with American Artist magazine in 1991. "I came to the conclusion that I was meant to be a portrait painter; I loved art and I loved people, and portraiture was the natural expression of my interests.”

Read more about Mr. Bouldin's life and work in the New York Times.