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I see the land the artists saw and because I know their work, I know the land as they knew it. This, for me, is profound. As I drive west, I am in search of Meeker’s Louisiana sky and know that, absent the road on which I travel, he painted what I see. Heade and Herzog found Florida and gave us a gift: They made it ours if only we will open our eyes. The architecture rooted in these landscapes may be gone (and not often rebuilt for the better), but the inhabitants are the same: labor, black and white, and artists now mostly indigenous.

My father’s father and his before him kept the farm even as they came to rely on the steady wages of the textile industry. Daddy became a company man and saw that institution as the open door for his family and future. He sold the farm in Richburg in the fifties, largely to provide for the comfort and support of my grandmother. But we always returned, whether to hunt in the autumn or to simply walk the place. I couldn’t turn my back on that legacy, dug deep in the bones, and found other land when I felt I could afford it, land painted by the artists I know.

My son is a fifth-generation quail hunter, my daughter a second-generation dealer in the art of our South. Will they, too, come to plant trees in rows?

This is the story of Southern.




Parkers Ferry Plantation, Yemassee, South Carolina ()
1451 River Road · Yemassee, SC 29945 · 843.412.8738
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