Jesus Bearing the Cross
Justin McCarthy, American, 1892 - 1977
Justin McCarthy began drawing while a patient at the Rittersville (Pennsylvania) State Home for the Insane, to which he was admitted in 1915 after suffering a nervous breakdown. On his release in 1920 he returned to his Weatherly, Pennsylvania, family home, and remained there until the early 1970s, living with his mother until her death in 1940. Throughout his life McCarthy held many jobs, such as a farmer and a machinists’ assistant, but he considered himself an artist, drawing or painting a wide range of subjects derived from newspapersfashion and travel magazines, religious and historical events, as well as images of glamorous celebrities. His work was noticed by a dealer and collector at a local art show around 1960, and in 1965 he had his first solo exhibition, at the Everhart Museum, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He died in Tuscon, Arizona, on July 14, 1977, at the age of 85.
This confident yet unconventional composition, with its nontraditional color and highly textured brushstrokes, is typical of McCarthy's expressive style.