John McCrady (American/New Orleans, 1911-1968), "The Creation of Adam and Eve", 1951, oil on canvas, signed and dated lower left, remnant of exhibition label en verso, 25 in. x 48 in., original frame enhanced by the artist; together with a copy of photograph of McCrady family with the painting. (2 pcs.) Note: Throughout his career, John McCrady painted numerous religious scenes inspired by his own spirituality and Biblical stories. These scenes, while still adhering to McCrady’s regionalist style, also verge on surrealism and abstraction. On the subject of these varying styles of painting, McCrady wrote, “I have never liked being classed in any definite school, as my work has much American Scene subject matter – but also plenty of fantasy – and is built on the abstract. All the painters of the stories of the Bible and Greek mythology were surrealists…any time a man paints an angel floating in the sky, he is painting surrealism. I have certainly done that.”
The work offered here, with a larger-than-life Adam and Eve dominating the composition while reclining in a stylized Garden of Eden, stylistically fits the criteria of a surrealist and abstract painting. The color scheme, with lush green fields and a bright blue sky, relates more to McCrady’s more traditional palette for his American Regionalist paintings and highlights the embedded traditional Biblical symbols. The emphasis on Adam’s ribs is a reference to the titular Bible story, where God made Eve from Adam’s rib. The small fig leaf on the left is clear foreshadowing of the fall of man, when Adam and Eve eat from the tree of knowledge, recognize their nudity, and cover themselves with fig leaves. Through these components, McCrady manages to successfully merge his Regionalist landscape style with a haunting and modernized Biblical subject.