An Appreciation for Artist William Christenberry

Jeff on November 30, 2016
William Christenberry

William Christenberry's Alabama Wall I

SAAM mourns the loss of artist and friend, William Christenberry, who died this past Monday at 80. As a young man, Christenberry often traveled the back roads of the South with his father. He studied painting as a graduate student at the University of Alabama until he discovered James Agee‘s book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Christenberry was moved when he realized that the tenant farmers in Walker Evans' photographs were people he remembered from growing up near Hale County, Alabama. Although Christenberry created many different kinds of art, ranging from photographs to drawings to sculptures, his experiences growing up in the South served as the subjects for most of his artwork.

Christenberry's exhibition, Passing Time: The Art of William Christenberry was one of SAAM's inaugural shows in 2006, when we opened after our main building's renovation. His sculpture, River House, is presently on view in our Luce Foundation Center. The following video, made in his studio, was produced at that time and offers you an inside look at the artist and the impetus for his work. He will be missed.