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Civil War Era Drawings

Oct 31, 2012 08:26PM ● By Anonymous

Civil War Era Drawings from the Becker Collection, opening October 27th and running through December 12th, will showcase the role of the artist-reporter during the mid-19th century. Long before television (but during the infancy of camera technology), the public relied on the sketchbook skills of artists who would swiftly draw scenes of events. This was what visual news was like back then. It was especially important during the Civil War. This exhibit features the work of Joseph Becker and other artist-reporters who contributed “to Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, an American magazine published 1852–1922, that served as an important venue for illustrated literature and news,” according to the Mitchell Gallery’s research. More than 120 drawings will be on display, selected from the Becker Archive, which “document the heroic battles of the Civil War, construction of the railroad, Indian wars, the Chicago fire, and other important events in the development of American identity and culture,” reads the museum’s literature.

Coinciding with the opening of the exhibit, St. John’s College is hosting the Civil War Living History Program on its grounds (October 27th–28th). Other exhibit events taking place concurrently include educational workshops and gallery talks with art educator Lucinda Edinberg and a lecture with co-curator of the exhibit, Dr. Judith Bookbinder (November 11th). For a complete listing of exhibit events and more information, visit

Top: John F.E. Hillen’s A Battle Two Miles West of Atlanta, July 30, 1864. Graphite, brown ink, and brown wash on wove paper; Middle: Joseph Becker’s The Scene on Jerusalem Plank Road (Siege of St. Petersburg), August 25, 1864. Graphite on wove paper; Bottom: Andrew McCallum’s Siege of Petersburg: A Night Attack, March 31, 1865. Graphite on wove paper.