Cat Fish Row
George Biddle ( American, 1885 - 1973 )
Catfish Row in Charleston, South Carolina, became famous as the setting of George Gershwin’s 1934 opera, "Porgy & Bess," about a crippled beggar and his love in a predominantly African American community. Although George Biddle initially visited Charleston in June 1930, making a number of ink sketches that he later developed into oil paintings and lithographs, the title of the lithograph and its 1936 release date suggest that Gershwin’s immensely popular opera influenced the choice of subject. Biddle, one of the masterminds behind the creation of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), favored regional scenes like Cat Fish Row. Though born in Philadelphia, he had a close connection to Texas, where he spent 1908–09 working as a cowboy. He continued to visit the state often, and in 1940 he settled for a time in San Antonio, where he completed a number of notable drawings, watercolors, and paintings.