John Steuart Curry (1897-1946) was an American Regionalist painter and muralist. Along with Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton, Curry led the Regionalist movement. Educated at the Art Institute of Chicago and the atelier of Vasily Shukhayev in Paris, he worked as a commercial illustrator until he became famous on the East Coast for his pictorial reminisces of life in Kansas. His work was highly valued by urban Americans who yearned for a simpler, more organic life in the country.
Baptism in Kansas (1928). This work, acquired by a lady of the Vanderbilt family in 1931, introduced Curry to the upper tiers of the American art scene and made him an instant success. Its depiction of simple people engaging in religious devotion was a great novelty to elites, thus ushering in the Regionalist era.
The Holy Spirit seems to be descending on this baptism in two doves: one white, one black. Now that's something that needs to be unpacked.
John Brown (mural, Kansas State Capitol, 1939). Abolitionist John Brown does not get a favorable depiction by Curry. To Curry, Brown was not a heroic martyr for the end of slavery, but a raving maniac whose violence led to the blood-drenched nightmare of the US Civil War.
Tornado Over Kansas (oil on canvas, Muskegon Museum of Art, 1929). One of Curry's dominant themes was the helplessness of people to savage forces beyond their control, both natural and man-made.