Byron Burford or Byron Leslie Burford, Jr. (American, b. Mississippi, 1920-2011) oil on canvas painting titled "Explorer's Dinner," depicting restaurant patrons seated at candlelit tables with a pianist playing in the left foreground, all set against an abstract background. Signed "Byron Burford '57" lower right. Label en verso for the Mid-South First Prize Winners exhibition at the Brooks Memorial Art Gallery. Sight – 40" H x 60" W. Framed – 41 3/8" H x 61 3/8" W. Mid 20th century. Provenance: Deaccessioned from the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Biography: Byron Burford Jr. was born and raised in Mississippi. He attended and later joined the faculty of the University of Iowa, at the invitation of his mentor, department chairman Grant Wood. Burford was head of Painting there for 38 years until his retirement in 1985. A figurative artist influenced by the Midwest Regionalist movement, he worked in a variety of mediums and received multiple awards and grants including American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Awards; the Tamarind Fellowship; a National Endowment for the Arts Grant; a Yaddo Fellowship; an American Federation of Arts Grant; the National Institute of Arts and Letters Grant 1972; a J.S. Guggenheim Fellowship; a Ford Foundation Award; and the Julius Rosenwald Fellowship. His works are held by the Smithsonian, the Walker Art Museum (Minneapolis), the Nelson Gallery (Kansas City), the Guggenheim Foundation (New York), the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Des Moines Art Center, the Joslyn Art Museum (Omaha), the Davenport Municipal Art Gallery, Eastman House (Rochester, NY), the High Museum of Art (Atlanta), the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery (Lincoln) and the University of Iowa Art Gallery. (Source: AskArt and the New York Times). Note: the first annual Mid-South Exhibition was held at the Brooks in 1956, a tradition that continued for the next 17 years and included purchase prizes to help bring regional art into the collection. Jurors included artists such as Wil Barnet and Jack Levine as well as museum directors from institutions such as Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and The Walker Art Center. CONDITION: Overall good condition. Slight buckling in top right corner of canvas, and few minor errant drips in bottom right quadrant. Minor abrasions along edges of canvas.
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