Header image  
line decor
line decor
 Support the Press


The Songs of Maybelle Stamper

Organized by Jay Williams


Arriving on remote Captiva Island in 1943, Maybelle Stamper must have felt immediately in touch with the transcendent, with the ultimate reality she sought. Stamper had already experienced professional success in New York and had established herself as a teacher at the Cincinnati Art Academy, but these achievements were secondary to her artistic objectives. She soon began to visualize a fresh, personal mythology, based on her island environment. This yet-unspoiled tropical island must have been overwhelming to a sensitive artist accustomed to the harsh climates of New England, New York, and Ohio. The subjective experience of the natural world of Captiva defied intellectual apprehension—the curling wave forms, banks of shells like drifted snow, dunes with sea oats bending in the soft breeze from the gulf, water so transparent that stingrays and schools of mullet were plainly outlined against the white sand bottom.

While Stamper's works refer to her experience of the natural world, they also spring from a deeper source, the world of imagination and dreams. In order to express spiritual and psychological truths as she saw them, she incorporated elements of abstraction and surrealism. As the artist's mature style developed during the 1950s, her lithographs and water colors became increasingly enigmatic and mysterious. For Stamper, life on Captiva was a mystical experience best expressed through art.



book jacket for The Songs of Maybelle Stamper


6 x 9
38 pages
ISBN 1-57003-366-8
paper, $14.00t
Distributed for the
McKissick Museum

    Copyright ©2013 The University of South Carolina Press