Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is located in Laurel, MS. The museum was opened in 1923 by Wallace Brown Rogers and Lauren Chase Eastman in memory of Lauren Eastman Rogers, Mr. Rogers’ only son. Mr. Roger’s and Mr. Eastman created the Eastman Memorial Foundation to maintain a library, museum, art gallery, and an educational institution to promote public welfare in the state of Mississippi. The family moved to this area from Iowa to start dealing in the uncut timber market. In a relatively short time, the family had become very influential in the community. The death of their only son, Lauren Eastman Rogers, to appendicitis affected the family greatly.
The building it was in was originally developed as a library. During construction, the family decided to add a wing for a museum. The library now houses over 10,000 volumes of local history. A large collection of private art from local members of the area comprised the original collection of the museum. The museum now has one of the best collection in the south of 19th and 20th century American and European works. Collections of silver, Native American baskets, and Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblocks prints are also noteworthy.
The European collection consist of works from the 17th to 20th century. Half of the collection is from French artist whose main work are paintings of the countryside. They also have watercolor landscapes from English artist Samuel Prout, and Paul Sandy. Portrait studies by several artist, a lithograph
from scupltor Henry Moore and paper works by Dali, Paul Signac, and Lipchitz.
The Japanese woodblock prints kept in the library are my personal favorite. They are from the Edo Period (1600-1868). The ukiyo-e woodblock prints usually shows scenes from the entertainment districts of Kyoto and Tokyo. Scenes from the prints often show erotica, Kabuki theatre, and actors. I enjoy the contrast of the simple lines of the prints from that time period and garish aspect of Shibuya district in modern Tokyo. It is a good representation of the westernization of certain aspects of Japanese life. It also is a good example of how outwardly, the Japanese will present a very reserved presence but under certain circumstances, they are a very open, liberal people.
A Sudden Shower at the Great Bridge
Gift of W.B. Rogers
The library is now 80 years old. It’s now has 11,000 of gallery space. It is a nice place to visit with the family. The entry is free but donations are accepted. The children would enjoy the current exhibition of Pink Panther artifacts. Visit http://lrma.org/ for information on the library.