Larry Lebby

(American, b. 1950)

Project New Day, 1979
Lithograph
Museum purchase with funds provided by the Anna Heyward Taylor Fund
2000.17

Larry Lebby’s portrait of his Great Uncle and his Great Aunt, holding his infant daughter, shows the mastery and emotion that Lebby evokes with the lithography stone.

The artist comments on Project New Day—

"I remember asking my uncle one day if I could do this drawing of him. At first, he wasn’t too excited about it. He didn’t see where that was something of any importance to him that I do a drawing of him. He was a person who didn’t like someone making a big fuss about him. Whatever he did, he did it and he did it proudly and if he did something he was going to put the kind of time in it to make sure it was done well. And I knew he was like that. So after talking to my uncle at great lengths about me really wanting to do this because of my love and admiration for him, he decided he would let me do it. And I remember him walking outside and he sat on this bench that he built for my aunt for her to set her flowers on during the summer so they could get sunlight. My aunt had my baby daughter, Amanda, in her arms. Amanda is now 26 years old and my aunt and my uncle have both passed away now. But on that day, she held Amanda in her arms very tenderly and she sat on that bench holding Amanda, it was like she was protecting Amanda from the world and she was going to keep her safe and when I saw that I almost wanted to cry looking at her doing that because I knew how loving my aunt was and she always had a history of just being kind to everyone. When people talked about her, they talked about her with great compassion and interest and love in this woman and my uncle sat there on the bench very proudly because he knew he had built this bench for my aunt. And as they were talking, I was drawing images of them. They had these wonderful wrinkles and lines, these aging lines in their faces which was a testimony to me of the kind of life that these people lived."