The National Portrait Gallery's Warren Perry discusses a 1988 painting of Eudora Welty by Mildred Nungester Wolfe.
Writer Eudora Welty devoted the bulk of her novels and short stories to portraying her native South. The originality of her work led critics to rank her with such literary giants of the twentieth century as William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor. Some feel that only southerners can fully appreciate Welty's command of local idiom and her painstaking attention to time and place. According to one admirer, however, Welty demonstrated "that the deeper one goes into the heart of a region, the more one transcends its . . . boundaries." Among Welty's best-known works is The Optimist's Daughter, for which she received a Pulitzer Prize in 1973. Welty and the artist who painted her portrait, Mildred Wolfe-both residents of Jackson, Mississippi-knew each other for many years. The writer posed for the likeness seated in her favorite chair in her own living room.
Eudora Alice Welty / Mildred Nungester Wolfe / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution / Copyright Mildred Wolfe, 1988