Of the Land: The Art and Poetry of Lou Stovall by Will Stovall, ed 2022

One of the earliest works of art on our walls is a print entitled “Seeing now the Coming Yield”, number 7 in an edition of 60 silkscreen prints, by an artist named Lou Stovall.  We bought this print for what must have been pennies in 1974 or 1975, when all we had could me measured in pennies, and it’s been on our walls in Bethesda, Newton, Cambridge, and now Brownsville, Vermont since then.

I hadn’t thought much about its provenance or the artist until browsing a bookstore in Montecito, California in March, 2022, we came upon this book and discovered to our amazement and pleasure, that our print was included.

The book, a paeon to his father, by the Yale PhD artist Will Stovall will be of limited interest to the general reader but was of great interest to me and should be to lovers of art, poetry, and biography, in this case a memoir written by the father and a bio written by the son.  Stovall, born in the deep South and brought up in Springfield, MA identifies his main influences and supports as his parents (his father grudgingly accepted his son’s desire to be an artist with the words “You’d better be a good one”.), his high school art teacher, his professors at RISD and Howard, and the jazz musicians, artists, and gallerists in 1950-1970 D.C. who created a lively and vibrant scene.

Stovall  began as a silkscreen poster artist making posters for protests, jazz clubs, and even the Peace Corps and refined and developed this technique until he was making silkscreen art with Sam Gilliam, Robert Mangold, Jacob Lawrence and other leading artists.  He continues to work at the age of 84 today.

The book contains his series of drawings and paired silkscreens entitled Of the Land and each drawing and print is titled with a line or phrase from his accompanying poetry.  It’s a lovely book and a wonderful addition to our library.