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Intriguing Images of Dr George Washington Carver

The "Psycho Beautigraph" etchings of Birmingham, AL, artist Felix Benjamin Gaines (1908–1991) are something of a mystery. His portrait of George Washington Carver offers some interesting challenges, beginning with identifying how it was made and how it relates to other prints of the period, both commercial and artistic. Presumably the term "psycho" refers to the psychology of the portrait's sensitive investigation of character. The background texture of the image resembles the cross-hatched fibers of a peanut shell, one of Carver's primary subjects for his experiments, and Gaines described some of his portraits using the term "peanut etching." It seems he made very detailed pen-and-ink drawings that were reproduced as photo-lithographs.
Gaines marketed his prints to audiences in the American south. During the late 1940s he planned to distribute his portrait of Dr. Carver to black schools and churches. He used Carver's image as a model to commemorate him as a great scientist and humanitarian and to encourage young people to seek higher education as a means to achieve racial tolerance and a better understanding between the races. After posting this blog in February 2015, we heard from some descendants and learned that Gaines was a muralist as well as a printmaker. He was involved in WPA art programs and later worked as an art teacher.
Relevant research areas: North America, 20th Century, Lithography