A Prominent Georgia artist’s paintings could be removed from a public building and put in storage. That’s because a newly elected official says they are not acceptable.
Agriculture Commissioner-elect Gary Black says he plans to take down the paintings, which depict slaves, when he takes office.
The murals by the late artist George Beattie Jr. have been in the State Agriculture Department since the 1950’s and show a time line of Georgia agriculture. Beattie’s son George Beattie III says his father believed slavery was terrible but felt his paintings needed to be historically accurate.
“The plantation system and the role that slavery played in it was a huge part of the development of agriculture in Georgia, so of course it was prominently displayed in the murals.”
The artist served on the Board of the High Museum and as Director of the Georgia Council for the Arts. His paintings have appeared at the Smithsonian, and Metropolitan Museum of Art.