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Past Exhibit – Time and Place: The Artwork of James Fowler Cooper



Beautiful Lowcountry landscapes, farm labor and life growing up in rural South Carolina are all scenes depicted in Time and Place: The Artwork of James Fowler Cooper. This exhibition tells the story of the Lowcountry through the eyes of South Carolina printmaker James Fowler Cooper. Cooper (1907-1968), a self-taught printmaker who grew up on a farm in Williamsburg, S.C., chronicled the people and places near his hometown through his work. Although he depicted scenes, he was not trying to tell a story. Instead, his focus was on his art and not his subjects. He never had the intention of becoming a commercial artist.

In the early 1990s, Cooper’s family donated a large collection of his original prints to the State Museum, and later in 2014, donated more than 100 plates. The exhibition will be comprised of a portion of these prints and plates – some of which will be seen by the public for the first time. The show will feature “Small Plowman,” Cooper’s first etching that led to his lifelong interest of capturing time and place in his work, as well as “Sausage Tomorrow,” “Hammock Shop” and “Mid Summer (Swimming Hole at Scout Cabin),” among many others.

Cooper attended the University of South Carolina and was one of the first students to graduate with a certificate in art. He then moved to New York City to study at the Art Students League of New York. In 1930, Cooper moved back to the family farm when his mother became ill. During this time, he found he had plenty of time to sketch his surroundings, and eventually turned his drawings into etchings. He continued to farm and create prints until his death in 1968.

This exhibit is included with museum membership or general admission.