State Museum showcase Nashville artist's Civil War works - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

State Museum showcase Nashville artist's Civil War works

Red Grooms Red Grooms
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The paintings of Red Grooms, one of Nashville's most respected artists, hang in museums and galleries worldwide.

Now, Grooms' look at the Civil War is on display at the Tennessee State Museum.

Civil War images haunted Grooms' life from its beginning. Long before attending Hillsboro High School, he discovered that his boyhood home sat just a stone's throw from the site of the Battle of Nashville in 1864.

"It's an artist's impression of that period of time which he has reacted to his whole life," said Mark Hooper with the Tennessee State Museum.

The ghosts of those battles are represented in the elegantly absurdist style Grooms is known for. But on the battlefield, that comedy is nowhere to be found.

"It goes from everywhere, sort of romantic, honoring the war, to the devastating tragedy," Hooper said of Grooms' work.

That tragedy is never ignored. The Civil War was America's deadliest, with more than 750,000 killed. That is felt in Grooms' paintings.

After more than 50 years of painting, Grooms' playful side still defines him. His southern roots are still intact, despite his New York City address.

The exhibit, titled Red Grooms, the Blue and the Grey, shows off more than 50 of his pieces. This is the first time any of the works have been seen by the public.

Admission to the Tennessee State Museum is free. Grooms' exhibit will be on display until June.

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