One of the many important artists to work in Columbus, Lamar Baker is best known for his vivid, frequently surrealist, depictions of Southern life. An Atlanta native, Baker moved to New York in 1935 to work and study, returning to Georgia to spend summers with family in Waverly Hall. During his years in New York, Southern life and scenery remained the focus of his art. In 1942, he won a Julius Rosenwald Fund fellowship that enabled him to travel through Mississippi and Louisiana. In August 1951, Baker settled near Columbus with his new wife, working for the Litho-Krome Company and teaching art classes.
Baker, a white male, frequently focused his work on the social issues of racial injustice and violence during the 1940s. Leading graphic arts historian and curator Carl Zigrosser described him as “one of the first native artists to reckon with the problems of the new South.” His later work often investigated issues of mortality.
Baker bequeathed roughly half of his work to The Columbus Museum, including prints, landscapes, figure studies, surrealist interpretations of African-American spirituals, and etchings of the Okefenokee Swamp.
Exhibition overview from museum website