Louisiana painter and printmaker, John McCrady was born and raised in rural Louisiana and Mississippi. He studied at the University of Mississippi where his father, an Episcopal minister, served on the faculty. His acclaimed painting, “Portrait of a Negro” won him a fellowship at the Art Students League in New York City. He also studied at the University of Pennsylvania and the New Orleans Art School.
McCrady received regional and national attention while producing public artworks for the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project and in 1939 he was honored with the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1949 he received a grant from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
In 1940, McCrady joined the Associated American Artists and he was encouraged by Caroline Durieux to experiment in lithography. Under Durieux's direction, McCrady produced four silkscreens to aid the war effort. He produced only 9 lithographs in his career.
In 1942 McCrady and his wife founded the McCrady Art School on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. He found the traditions, customs and landscapes of the South, a never-ending source of inspiration.