"A Wind Blew in Texas," Marian Hebert (1948)
A Wind Blew in Texas
Texas has vast plains and harsh environments that are often lifeless; some parts of Texas fall inside the infamous Tornado Alley. While the Great Depression had technically ended with World War II, the Dust Bowl and tornados continued to hamper farmers’ livelihoods after the war. In this print, the winds whip at a figure wearing horns and driving a horse-drawn cart. The horses are sturdy, likely workhorses, but a standing tree is losing its leaves and two frightened dogs are running away. The setting is isolated, and the clouds in the back swirl, taking the rounded shape of dust clouds that appear to transform into sand dunes. This image is a reminder of the struggles that farmers and settlers of the South have consistently endured, and of the folk tales that have emerged through the retelling of heroic stories of resilience, inventiveness, and survival. The scene recalls the tribulations of American folklore figure Pecos Bill, a symbol for all the people who went West looking for work and a better life, among them the miners, farmers, and even entertainers, but instead encountered an unwelcoming land filled with hardships. American artist Marian Hebert is often linked to the Works Progress Administration and the Federal Art Project, as other prints of hers have the blind stamp of the logo. A skillful printmaker and still-life painter, Hebert taught art at Mary Hardon-Baylor College for a time, located in the middle of Hill Country, an area of Texas known for its hilly landscapes.