Flora Blanc Reeder (american, 1916-1995) The Dro
In 1914, Flora Blanc was born in New York City to a family that was deeply involved with the arts. At nineteen, she left her exclusive Parisian boarding school for an apartment in the city where she began studying with Fernand Leger and Stanley William Hayter, while modeling for Chaim Soutine. In 1937, she met and soon married the Fort Worth native Dickson Reeder while they were both studying art in Paris. In 1940, the couple settled in Fort Worth, where they quickly became two of the central figures in a group of mid-century modernists known as the Fort Worth Circle.
The Drowning is a gripping image based on an event that Flora is said to have witnessed herself. While admittedly somewhat dark, there is something riveting about this powerful image of a woman's nude body being pulled from a river. The ghostly white figure's peaceful repose resembles the reclining female form so often found in classical art, and adds a sense of timelessness and transcendence to the tragic scene.
"I usually see more Magic Realism in the Fort Worth school. However, in this painting, [Flora Blanc] Reeder steps up to the Social Realism plate and knocks a homer. Texas artists rarely painted the macabre, and this painting could hold its own with paintings by the Soyers or Peter Blume, or especially Ben Shahn's famous painting of Sacco and Venzetti in the coffins." -- Michael Grauer, Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs/Curator of Art at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum.