Page 1


BILL TRAYLOR 20 NOVLMBER - 24 DECEMBER 1997

Accompanying catalog now available with 51 full-page color plates. 10" x 10". 70 pages. $30.

RICCOMARESCA GALLERY 529 WEST 20 STREET THIRD FLOOR NYC 10011 E-MAIL rmgal@aol.com

TEL 212/ 627-4819 FAX 212/ 627-511

WEBSITE http://artnetweb.com/rmgallery


STEVE MILLER • AMERICAN FOLK ART •

17 East 96th Street, New York,New York 10128(212)348-5219 Gallery hours are from 1:00 pm until 6:00 pm,Tuesday through Saturday. Other hours are available by appointment.


O.L. Samuels "The Predator-She's on Hockey Skates" painted wood approx. 82" x 27' x 20"

r&f(‘‘ Alyne Harris "Heaven & Hell God on left with Angels-Devil on right trying to burn up Angels" acrylics on canvas 2r x 36'

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1

Alyne Harris "Moses with Commandments. Joshua beside the Rock. The Burning Bush" acrylics 36" x 48"

The work of Alyne Harris will be at the Old Capitol Gallery, State Capitol Building, Tallahassee, Fla., Jan. 23 to Apr. 17, 1998 Presented by Sec. of State Sandra B. Mortham and the Fla. Dept. of State, Div. of Cultural Affairs

CAVANAUGH & BLUE 2055 NW 18th Lane, Gainesville, Florida 32605 Please call: 352-376-2156 Fax: 352-371-6141


FACE OF

TiMg EARTH MooN

OUR OL

Face of Our Old Time Earth Moon, c. 1950's, house paint on posterboard, 22 1/4" x 25 1/2"

Peter Attie Besharo FLEISHER OLLMAN GALLERY 211 S. 17th Street Philadelphia 1 9 1 0 3 (215)545.7562 (Fax)545. 6140

Exhibiting at the Outsider Art Fair The Puck Building, January 22 - 25, 1998


John Sideli Art & Antiques Stylish Objects ofthe 18th, 19th &20th Centuries 214 ROUTE 71 • PO BOX 149

NORTH EGREMONT, MA 01252 • 413. 528.2789


FOLK ART VOLUME 22, NUMBER 4/ WINTER 1997/98

FEATURES

THE GATEKEEPERS OF CULTURE: ON PRESENTING THE WORKS OF

Cover Detail ofHARMONIZING:Horace Pippin, West Chester, Pennsylvania, 1944, oil on canvas, 24 x30". Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Bissett, 64.26

AFRICAN AMERICAN SELF-TAUGHT ARTISTS Randall Morris

40

MATTIE LOU O'KELLEY: REFLECTIONS ON THE ARTIST AND HER WORK Gerard C. Wertkin

49

JON SERL IN PERSON Susan C. Larsen

52

MOURNING THE CHILDREN: AN INTERPRETATION OF THE SYMBOLS IN TWO POSTHUMOUS PORTRAITS Barbara Rothermel Folk Art is published four times a year by the Museum of American Folk Art,61 West 62nd Street, NY,NY 10023, Tel. 212/977-7170, Fax 212/977-8134. Prior to Fall 1992, Volume 17, Number 3, Folk Art was published as The Clarion. Annual subscription rate for members is included in membership dues. Copies are mailed to all members. Single copy $6.00. Published and copyright 1997 by the Museum of American Folk Art,61 West 62nd Street, NY,NY 10023. The cover and contents of Folk Art are fully protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in any manner without written consent. Opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the Museum of American Folk Art. Unsolicited manuscripts or photo-graphs should be accompanied by return postage. Folk Art assumes no responsibility for the loss or damage of such materials. Change of address: Please send both old and new addresses and allow five weeks for change. Advertising: Folk Art endeavors to accept advertisements only from advertisers whose reputation is recognized in the trade, but despite the care with which the advertising department screens photographs and texts submitted by its advertisers, it cannot guarantee the unquestionable authenticity of objects or quality of services advertised in its pages or offered for sale by its advertisers, nor can it accept responsibility for misunderstandings that may arise from the purchase or sale of objects or services advertised in its pages. The Museum is dedicated to the exhibition and interpretation of folk art and it is a violation of its principles to be involved in or to appear to be involved in the sale of works of art. For this reason, the Museum will not knowingly accept advertisements for Folk Art that illustrate or describe objects that have been exhibited at the Museum within one year of placing an advertisement.

DEP

AR

T

60

MENTS

EDITOR'S COLUMN

6

DIRECTOR'S LETTER

15

A PLACE FOR US:PLANS FOR A NEW BUILDING

18

MINIATURES

28

HOLIDAY TREE EXHIBITION

36

OUTSIDER ART FAIR BENEFIT DINNER

39

TRUSTEES/DONORS

66

MUSEUM NEWS

72

FALL PROGRAMS

78

MUSEUM REPRODUCTIONS PROGRAM

79

TRAVELING EXHIBITIONS

80

INDEX TO ADVERTISERS

88

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 5


EDITOR'S

COLUMN

ROSEMARY GABRIEL

nce again, Folk Art is brimming over with exciting news. See our special announcements on pages 18 and 39, and Museum News, starting on page 72, for exciting upcoming exhibitions and events, plus a recap of our Fall activities. During the hubbub of the Opening Night Benefit Preview of the Fall Antiques Show,the magazine's team gathered together for a group photo, so that we could wish you a happy holiday,face to face. Unfortunately, John Hood,one of our two sales representatives, got lost in the crowd and missed the shot. We will capture him for you in the near future. Our lead story,"The Gatekeepers of Left to right: Mel Novatt, Jeffrey Kibler, Rosemary Culture: On Presenting the Work of Artists,,, Gabriel, Benjamin Boyington, Jocelyn Meinhardt, and African American Self-Taught Tanya Heinrich by Randall Morris, invites us to explore the connections between the painting and sculpture done in the 1940s by Haitian, Jamaican, and North American artists such as Philome Obin, Hector Hyppolite, John Dunldey, Horace Pippin, and William Edmondson and that of contemporary African American artists. Morris asserts that the work of these artists, although informed by their African ancestry, is more a product of the African Diaspora, and references black American and Caribbean culture, carrying with it expressions of slavery, African-Christian morality, resistance to oppression and racism, and racial solidarity. As much as Morris' essay demands that we connect the dots and see a progression in the work of African American artists, Susan Larsen asks us to set aside historical context and focus on one man who strove to disconnect himself from mainstream society. Her essay,"John Serl in Person," gives us a glimpse of Serl's struggle for independence. Serl's art is haunting and sensual, and Larsen helps us understand the haunting and sensual man who created it. Serl's painting The Orchard depicts the bounty of nature, and so do Mattie Lou O'Kelley's Planting the Riverbeds and The Big Farm in the Spring. In this issue, Director Gerard C. Wertldn reflects on O'Kelley's life and work, and the legacy left to the Museum after her death on July 26. O'Kelley was nationally celebrated for her paintings of idyllic rural southern landscapes. Her work is represented in the Museum's permanent collection. Mattie Lou O'Kelley was 89 when she died and Jon Serl was around 98— impressive ages, even for this century, but almost unheard of in the 1800s, when adults died young and the mortality rate of infants and children was shockingly high. How did nineteenth-century Americans deal with their grief, especially following the death of a child? In "Mourning the Children," Barbara Rothermel picks out and interprets the encoded messages included in two posthumous mourning portraits. We hope you enjoy this issue of Folk Art, and we look forward to being with you again in March. Until then, on behalf of the entire Museum staff, we wish you a joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year.

FOLK ART Rosemary Gabriel Editor and Publisher Jeffrey Kibler, The Magazine Group, Inc. Design Tanya Heinrich Production Editor Jocelyn Meinhardt Production Associate Benjamin J. Boyington Copy Consultant John Hood Advertising Sales Mel Novatt Advertising Sales Patrick H. Calkins Advertising Graphics Craftsmen Litho Printers MUSEUM OF AMERICAN FOLK ART Administration Gerard C. Werdcin Director Riccardo Salmona Deputy Director Jeffrey S. Grand Director ofFinance and Operations Susan Conlon Assistant to the Director Natasha Ghany Accountant Pearl Wilson-Samalya Accountant Sandy Rivera Mailroom/Reception Daniel Rodriguez Mailroom/Reception Collections & Exhibitions Stacy C. Hollander Curator Ann-Marie Reilly Registrar Judith Gluck Steinberg Assistant Registrar/ Coordinator, Traveling Exhibitions Sandra Wong Assistant Registrar Dale Gregory Gallery Manager Brian Pozun Weekend Gallery Manager Gina Bianco Consulting Conservator Elizabeth V. Warren Consulting Curator Howard Lanser Consulting Exhibition Designer Kenneth R. Bing Security Departments Cheryl Aldridge Director ofDevelopment Beth Bergin Membership Director Marie S. DiManno Director ofMuseum Shops Susan Flamm Public Relations Director Alice J. Hoffman Director ofLicensing Joan D. Sandler Director ofEducation and Collaborative Programs Janey Fire Photographic Services Chris Cappiello Membership Associate Jennifer A. Waters Development Associate Claudia Andrade Manager ofInformation Systems, Retail Operations Kathy Maqsudi Membership Assistant Wendy Barret° Membership Clerk Edith C. Wise Consulting Librarian Eugene P. Sheehy Volunteer Librarian Rita Keckeissen Volunteer Librarian Katya Ullmann Library Assistant Programs Lee Kogan Director, Folk Art Institute/Senior Research Fellow Madelaine Gill Administrative Assistant/Education Barbara W.Cate Educational Consultant Dr. Marilynn Karp Director, New York University Master's and Ph.D. Program in Folk Art Studies Dr. Judith Reiter Weissman Coordinator, New York University Program Arlene Hochman Volunteer Docent Coordinator Lynn Steuer Volunteer Outreach Coordinator Museum Shop Staff Managers: Suellen Diamond,Dorothy Gargiulo, Caroline Hohenrath, Ursula Morillo, Rita Pollitt, Brian Pozun; Mail Order: Beverly McCarthy;Security: Bienvenido Medina; Volunteers: Muriel Advocate, Marie Anderson, Olive Bates, Angela Clair, Sally Frank, Millie Gladstone, Edith Gusoff, Ann Hannon, Bernice Hoffer, Arleen Luden, Katie McAuliffe, Nancy Mayer, Marie Peluso, Judy Rich, Frances Rojack, Phyllis Selnick, Lola Silvergleid, Maxine Spiegel, Myrna Tedles, Mary Wamsley Museum of American Folk Art Book and Gift Shops 62 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10112-1507 212/247-5611 Two Lincoln Square(Columbus Avenue between 65th and 66th) New York, NY 10023-6214 212/496-2966 Administrative Offices Museum of American Folk Art 61 West 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023-7015 212/977-7170, Fax 212/977-8134, http://www.folkartmuse.org

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART


ALLAN KATZ Americana

sheet iron weathervane circa 1880

175 Ansonia Road, Woodbridge, Connecticut 06525 • (203) 397-8144


Barry Simons, BS241,'49 Mercury Would be Justice, 1996, paint & ink

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A.D. Rizzoli, SI Mother Symbolically- Represented, 1935, colored ink on rag paper

Look for us in

A.G. Rizioli Architect of Magnificent Visions January 21—March 8,1998 Museum of American Folk Art, New York City

• Dorothy Binger,Fields ofthe Sun,1993, mixed media on paper

Outsider Art Fair [self-taught, visionary, outsider, intuitive, art brut,folk] Jan. 23, 24, Se 26, Preview Jan. 22 The Puck Building, New York, NY

THE

NIES

MIRY rIcu

Dealers in exceptional self-tat ght, visionary, naive, and outsider art. • Bonnie Grossman, Director • 2661 Cedar Street, Berkeley, California, USA 94708•510/845-4949

Fax 510/845-6219


CHARLES A.A. DELLSCHAU 8 JANUARY - 7 FEBRUARY 1998

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Accompanying catalog now available with 41 full-page color plates and essay on the -Aeronautical Notebooks of Charles A.A. Dellschau". 10- x 10". 60 pages. $25.

RICCOEVIARESCA GALLERY 529 WEST 20 STREET THIRD FLOOR NYC 10011 E-MAIL rmgal@aol.com

TEL 212/ 627-4819 FAX 212/ 627-5117

WEBSITE http://artnetweb.com/rmgallery


AMERICAN PRIMITIVE

594 BROADWAY #205 New York, N.Y. 10012 212 - 966 - 1530 MON - SAT 11-6

GALLERY

TED

LUDWICZAK

CARVED STONE HEADS ht 18 in

ht 36 in.

ht 13 in


CARL HAMMER AND ROBERT HENRY ADAMS proudly announce the discovery of

Paintings I)y

OTTO U PTS

On verso: Gebburd von Blucher cfc Paul von Hindenburg, General Feldmarshalls (sic), a diptych Oil on board 13.75" x 14.5"

19th Century German Immigrant Farmer/Painter from Peoria, Illinois

CARL HAMMER GALLERY 200 West Superior Street, Chicago, Illinois 60610, 312.266.8512


New York City

acrylic on paper 26" x 30"

Visit us in New York

Outsider / Contemporary Folk Art Exhibition January 23 - February 1, 1998 Art 54 Gallery 54 Greene Street, Soho corner of Broome Street & Greene Street Every day 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. and by appointment 212. 226.1605 during exhibition Reception for Artists - Saturday, January 24, 7 - 10 p.m. Meet the Artists: Woodie Long, Charlie Lucas, Sarah Rakes, Ab the Flagman, Hope Atkinson and others

loal.aabilitosiodp000010.10.01m4.60.•

Marcia Weber/Art Objects 334.262.5349

1050 Woodley Road Montgomery, Alabama 36106 E-Mail: Weberart @ Mindspring . corn

Fax: 334. 567. 0060


RICCO/MARESCA GALLERY NEW YORK AND CARL HAMMER GALLERY CHICAGO ARE PLEASED TO OFFER FOR THE FIRST TIME THE WORKS OF

EDWIN LAWSON (

- 1980)

AT THE OUTSIDER ART FAIR THE PUCK BUILDING • NEW YORK • JANUARY 1998

RICCO/MARESCA GALLERY \\ EST 20 STREET THIRD FLOOR NEW YORK NY 10011 TEL 212/627-1819 Ek E-M I I rffigal@aol.com NV EBSITE hup://artnetweb.r

ringaller,

CARL HAMMER GALLERY 200 WEST SUPERIOR STREET CHICAGO IL 60610 TEL 312/266-8512

212/627-5117


EXCLUSIVELY REPRESENTING THE WORK OF

BILL

TRAYLOR

FROM THE ESTATE OF CHARLES E. SHANNON

HIRSCHL & ADLER MODERN 21 EAST 70TH STREET NEW

535 8810 FAX 212 772 7237


GERARD C. WERTICIN

his column is being written just prior to the public announcement on October 29 of plans for the Museum's new building. A more extended description of the project appears in "A Place for Us," by Deputy Director Riccardo Salmona, on page 18 of this issue. To say that all of us at the Museum are gratified by these developments would be an understatement. Thanks to the impressive team of Tod Williams Billie Tsien and Associates, the new building will represent in every respect the fulfillment of the Museum's longstanding goals. Of the members of the staff, Riccardo Salmona has worked closest with the architects and the building committee of the Board of Trustees—on an almost daily basis throughout the year. My hat is off to him for his splendid efforts in helping to bring us to this exciting juncture in the history of the Museum. This wonderful news brings to mind the many good friends who not only have supported and sustained the Museum since its founding in 1961, but also have dreamed the dreams with us. One of these was Eva Feld, whose death earlier this year was the subject of this column in the Summer issue of Folk Art. A great benefactor of the Museum in life, Mrs. Feld made very generous provisions for the institution under her will. While the full amount of her bequest will not be determined until the completion of the administration of her estate, it is estimated that the fund that she provided for the Museum will be in excess of $2 million. As director of the Museum and in my prior role as assistant director, I had the pleasure of knowing Eva Feld well. In her own quiet but determined way,she was able to make a profound impact on the institutions in which she believed. I am proud to have known her and am deeply grateful for her conviction that the Museum of American Folk Art and its collections were a national treasure worthy of her interest and support. Another caring friend died during this year, the Georgia folk artist Mattie Lou O'Kelley. My reflections on the artist and her work appear on pages 49-51 of this issue of Folk Art, together with an obituary by Lee Kogan. Under the terms of her will, the Museum will share in a $1.5 million-dollar bequest with the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, perhaps the first time that a folk artist has provided so generously for institutions in the field. I always admired Mattie Lou O'Kelley's independent spirit and am deeply gratified that she chose the Museum of American Folk Art as one of her two principal beneficiaries. The significance of the announcement of our building plans, the generosity of these two special friends, and, perhaps, the time of the year that we are entering—a period for reflection and for giving thanks—prompt me to look back on a year in which the Museum has received many significant gifts both to the permanent collection and in support of exhibitions and programs. Judith Alexander of Atlanta and New York has presented the Museum with a group of outstanding paintings by Nellie Mae Rowe (1900-1982). This major gift also included early drawings by the artist that are important in tracing the evolution of her distinctive visual vocabulary. With Lee Kogan, director of the Museum's Folk Art Institute, as curator, the Museum is organizing a comprehensive retrospective of Rowe's work to be presented in early 1999, accompanied by what I know will be a definitive book. I am grateful to Judith Alexander for her friendship and support.

T

I owe thanks to Michael Mendelsohn, Richard Manney,and UNTITLED (Nellie in Her their associYard): Nellie Mae Rowe; Vinings, Georgia; 1978; ates at CM Briddge, Ltd., a remarkable enterprise felt-tip marker and that seeks to bring together the needs of collectors pencil on Foamcore; and museums by providing a variety of services in 2 20. Museum / 171 estate planning, collection appraisals, and advice on of American Folk Art, of Judith Alexander, the disposition of works of art. Michael had a major gift 1997.5.1 Pat Mr. by and gift the Parsons role in encouraging and Mrs. Charles Webb of the Inez Nathaniel Walker archives, a subject that was featured in the Summer 1997 issue of this magazine. Michael Mendelsohn and CM Briddge, Ltd., have participated generously in the life of the Museum in many other ways as well. It is my privilege to express appreciation to them on behalf of all of us at the Museum. Between issues of Folk Art, the Museum presented "William L. Hawkins," an exhibition organized by the Museum's curator, Stacy C. Hollander. As usual, Stacy brought her artful, inquiring eye to the choice of paintings, and the show was in every respect a visual delight. Hawkins' striking paintings were enhanced by the setting in which they were presented, the remarkable installation design that was provided as a gift to the Museum by Frank Maresca. The exhibition was thoughtfully supported by grants from Edward V. Blanchard and M. Anne Hill, the Figge Foundation, T. Marshall Hahn,Jr., and an anonymous donor. Securing support for exhibitions and education programming is among the greatest challenges facing museums today. I am deeply grateful to these friends for their commitment to the Museum and its mission. On view currently at the Museum is "The Image Business: Shop and Cigar Store Figures in America," organized for the Museum by Ralph Sessions, guest curator and former chief curator of the Museum. The result of Ralph's intensive pursuit of information about this significant tradition in American art history, advertising, and material culture, the exhibition consists of an extraordinary group of objects. Major support was provided by the General Cigar Company, which long ago recognized the importance of this legacy by forming its own impressive corporate collection. General Cigar Company thoughtfully assisted the Museum not only through the provision of very substantial resources, but also through loans to the exhibition and helpful counsel and advice. In this regard,I especially wish to thank Edgar Cullman, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer, and David Danziger, Vice President, Corporate Development. The importance of this exhibition may be underscored by the fact that the leadership grant of General Cigar Company was coupled with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Folk Art Society, the New York State Council on the Arts, and Cigar Aficionado magazine. If you have not seen this worldclass exhibition of sculpture, please accept my invitation to do so before it closes on January 11, 1998. Following its presentation here in New York, the exhibition will be presented at The Baltimore Museum of Art from February 18 to April 12.*

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 15


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CHRISTIE'S

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AMERICAN FURNITURE AND FOLK ART FROM THE LENETT COLLECTION To be offered in the sale of Important American Furniture, Silver, Prints, Folk Art and Decorative Arts January 16, 1998

Reuben Modthrop, 1763-1814 Portrait of Eunicia Street Stebbins

Inquiries: Susan Kleckner at 212 546 1181 502 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022 tel: 212 546 1000 fax: 212 980 8163 Catalogues: 800 395 6300 on-line www.christles.com


ANNOUNCEMENTS

P s the saying goes:"Good things come to those who wait." For all of the Museum's loyal supporters who have stood by us since our founding in 1961 ...the wait is over! Earlier this Fall, the Museum held a press conference to unveil designs for a new facility on West 53rd Street and to announce the commencement of a Capital Campaign to build the new Museum and to increase endowment. Campaign Chair Lucy C. Danziger, Board of Trustees President Ralph

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Architect Tod Williams, Museum deputy director Riccardo Salmona, architect Billie Tsien, and project architect Matthew Baird at the site on West 53rd Street

0.Esmerian, and a generous and enthusiastic Board have already raised over $12 million toward a final goal of more than $20 million. The story began back in 1979, when Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller contacted then Museum Director Robert Bishop. She had heard of our search for a permanent home and offered to sell to the Museum two brownstone buildings located at 45-47 West Preliminary model of the building on West 53rd Street

18 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART


53rd Street that were owned by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. In November 1979, the Museum of American Folk Art bought the two buildings. Mrs. Rockefeller envisioned a cluster of cultural institutions, including museums and corporate galleries, that would be centrally located in midtown Manhattan. Twenty years later, her vision of a midtown museum district, built upon the cornerstone of The Museum of Modern Art and encompassing the American Craft Museum,The Museum of Television and Radio, and numerous corporate galleries and exhibition spaces, culminates with our striking new building as the capstone. Last Fall, the Board of Trustees formed a Building Committee to search for the right architects to design our new home. Chosen this Spring from a

distinguished field of nearly thirty architects from across the country, Tod Williams Billie Tsien and Associates was selected for its keen sense of design and provocative use of beautiful materials. Trips were arranged to see several of Williams and Tsien's completed projects elsewhere in the country. The experience made a powerful and favorable impression on visiting Trustees and members of the Building Committee. Based in New York City, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien are best known for the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California, considered their finest work to date. Their other work includes a major renovation and addition to the Phoenix Art Museum,the Whitney Museum of American Art Downtown Branch, and a Science Building and Natatorium

at the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York. In addition, they recently won a competition to design a 50,000-square-foot Student Arts Center at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. It is no wonder Williams and Tsien were cited by Newsweek as the architects to watch in the next millennium. Along with project architect Matthew Baird, Billie Tsien and Tod Williams have been immersing themselves in the various forms of folk art through visits to the Museum and its warehouse, and to private collections and galleries. They met with Museum staff, Trustees, and the Building Committee before putting pen to tracing paper. The vision of Williams and Tsien imaginatively captures the spirit and freedom of folk art, and has found its form in a six-story building—with two

floors below grade—graced with a striking facade. Their goal was to create a memorable, personal journey for each museum visitor as he or she progresses through more than 7,500 square feet of designated exhibition space. We anticipate that works of art will be displayed in new and creative ways not only in this space, but throughout the building. The new facility will feature a library, an auditorium, an education/media center, a book/gift store, a café, and offices. Look for the Spring issue of Folk Art, which will feature an in-depth presentation of .the building design, an update on our Capital Campaign, and a report on our progress toward a grand opening as the millennium dawns in early 2000.* —Riccardo Salmona, Deputy Director

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 19


Young Girl with Cherry Print Dress ca. 1850 salted paper print with watercolor 8X10

Thorapson

Wesierman

Folk Art Photographs Call for appointment (212) 475-0010

ref Photozraohic Folk Art: 19th and 20th Century Hand-Colored Phototzraoh* by Addison Thompson and Lesa Westerman Folk Art Magazine Summer 1993

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THE PAR DEE COLLECTION P.O. Box 2926, Iowa City, IA 52244 (319) 337-2500

20

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART


ON SERL

Second Marriage, 1973, oil/board, 41 1/2" x 30 1/4"

Representing Jon Serl since 1983 CAVIN-MORRIS GALLERY 560 Broadway, Suite 405B New York, NY 10012 tel: (212) 226-3768 fax: (212) 226-0155 Visit us at the Outsider Art Fair, January 22-25,1998 booth 11


"A Good Time to Play" )1(eidi0&066 Pastel on Paper, ) 61 11"x 17", 1908-1997 signed and dated 1973 "Morning Glories', 0/C, 30"x 36", signed and dated 1977

"Vase ofJonquils" Oil on Canvas, 16"x 12', signed and dated 1971

Rnoke atterte5 rif Atlanta ESTABLISHED 1973

Specializing in Fine Quality 19th and 20th Century American Art

5325 ROSWELL ROAD, N.E. ATLANTA, GA 30342 (404)252-0485

Look for our booth at the Outsider Art Fair in New York, Jan. 22-25.

Davi(1898-1997 d Butle r ) Collection Includes: Clementine Hunter, Don McLaws, "Artist Chuckie" Williams, Ike Morgan, J.B. Murray, Howard Finster, Mary T. Smith, B.F. Perkins, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Royal Robertson, Reginald Gee, James Harold Jennings, Mose Tolliver, Lonnie Holley, Raymond Coins, Burgess Dulaney, Charlie Lucas, Nellie Mae Rowe, Sarah Rakes, Leroy Almon, Sr., Sister Gertrude Morgan, Tubby Brown, S.L. Jones, Rhinestone Cowboy, Dwight Mackintosh, Clyde Jones, Sybil Gibson and Albert Louden.

GILLEY8 "Nativity" 24" x 34", Enamel on tin

22 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

GAMY R

A

MES

8750 Florida Blvd. Baton Rouge, LA 70815 (504) 922-9225


FREDDIE BRICE It's in my way of drawin'. It's in my conscious of drawin'. It's in my mind. It became to be lovely to me. It became to be likely to me. Why, I like it more than I like anything else. I think it's a hobby. You know, speaking about a hobby. A hobby is a true thing... when you begin to love something; when you begin to do something, constructive, something that you like and love, it becomes a hobby. It becomes regular, it becomes con tinously. It becomes outrageous. It becomes magnificent. It becomes something that you like to do for a hobby. And I like to do drawing for a hobby. Drawing gives me time, it gives me patience and it also gives me ability. Ability is when you gain what you're doing, and when you get enough of it you begin to have 'rehability'... 'rehabiliteality' of what you're doing. It becomes a whole lot to you. Drawing is a 'rehabiliteality' to me. I began to do it often and I began to do it much. And it's ability. It's 'rehabiliteality' of what I love. And it's a hobby. - Freddie Brice 1990

"Blue Bird" 1993, 27 x 42 inches acrylic on wood "Clock and Watches" 1992, 32 x 48 inches acrylic on wood

representing: GAYLEEN AIKEN AARON BIRNBAUM FREDDIE BRICE CHRIS MURRAY PHILIP TRAVERS works by: MERRILL DENSMORE CARL GREENBERG RAY HAMILTON GAETANA MENNA FRANCES MONTAGUE PAULINA SANTALIZ

K.S. Art 91 FRANKLIN STREET NY NY 10013 BY APPOINTMENT 212 219 1489


SISTER GERTRUDE MORGAN DAVID BUTLER

J.P. SCOTT

WILLIAM DAWSON

MARY T. SMITH

CLEMENTINE HUNTER MOSE TOLLIVER CHARLES HUTSON

EDGAR TOLSON

"PAPPY" KITCHENS

WILLIE WHITE

MAY KUGLER

"CHIEF" WILLEY

SULTON ROGERS

JOSEPH YOAKUM "And it came to Pass," gouache on cardboard, 93/4" x 12"

WILLIAM PELTIER • FINE AND FOLK ART 376 Millaudon St. • New Orleans, LA 70118 • By Appointment Phone (504) 861-3196 Fax (504) 862-7403

Ginger Young Gallery Southern Self-Taught Art By appointment 919.932.6003 Works by more than four dozen artists, including Georgia Blizzard Rudolph Bostic Linda Bruton Raymond Coins • Patrick Davis • Howard Finster • Sybil Gibson • Tom Jordan • Woodie Long • R.A. Miller • Reginald Mitchell Sarah Rakes • Royal Robertson J.R Scott Lorenzo Scott Earl Simmons • Jimmie Lee Sudduth

Mose Tolliver

For a free video catalogue or a complete price list please contact: Ginger Young Gallery 5802#Brisbane Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 Phone/Fax 919.932.6003 E-mail gingerart@aol.com Web http://members.aoLcom/gingerart2/

"The Book, of Daniels, Ch 6" by Myrtice West, 1996, oil on canvas, 46" x 46"

24 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART


TERRY TURRELL

THE MODERN PRIMITIVE GALLERY 1393 NORTH HIGHLAND AVENUE,ATLANTA,GA 30306(404)892-0556


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* Primitives * matted Art -k

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1117 .eas-t- ircl.-Averlue 5cott5cia1e,71rizon a, eg5-1 ((oDZ) 871.-0504 fAi.(Gee)114-003

Carving by Kent Gutzmer

ED OTT

1914-1997

"celebrating the spilt"

Internet Gallery www.hustontown.com

HUSTONTOWN 26 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

abibiting...illorrow Paddock David Roth Daniel Toepfer Ruby C. Williams Gene Beecher FORT LOUDON, PA 717.369.5248 ebeecher@epix.net


FRED FELDMAN

2811510W J33T2 J A30.11 70

Steel Workers oil on linen 62" x 80"

GALLERY 121 HENRY INC. 121 Henry Street, New York, New York 10002 Telephone: (212) 766-2898 Fax: (212) 732-6314 e-mail address: Gallery121Henry@worldnet.att.net Collectors and Gallery representatives are seen by appointment.

Full-color slide catalogue and Iris prints available.


Anne Grgich Mixed media on paper

COMPILED BY TANYA HEINRICH

Chase Manhattan Bank Collection

"Parlatta" 5" x 3"

"Aqua de Disgustomenta" 5" x 3"

"Untitled" 5" x 3"

American Pie Elaine Johansen 113 Dock Street • Wilmington, NC 28401 (910)251-2131

28 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

Fifty-five objects from the Chase Manhattan Bank Collection will be on view at the Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, N.J.,from Jan. 25 through April 26, 1998. "Friendly Persuasions: Folk Art at Work from the Chase Collection," organized by curator Barbara Cate, will feature, among other unusual objects, an 1801 ship's figurehead, a 19th-century life-size gypsy doll, and a sculptural ironing board from the early 20th century. Cate will give a gallery talk Sunday, Feb. 8, and Gerard C. Wertkin will present a keynote lecture Feb. 12; the public is invited to attend these events. For more information, please call 973/746-5555.

CLOTHIER'S TRADE SIGN Silas West Hayville, Massachusetts c. 1897 Pressed and painted tin 79 Chase Bank Collection

Clementine Hunter

New Mexican Pueblo Pottery

"The World of Clementine Hunter," an exhibition of lively colored paintings created by African American self-taught artist Clementine Hunter (1886-1988), a former plantation worker from Louisiana, will be on view at the Pensacola Museum of Art in Pensacola, Fla.,from Dec. 5, 1997, through Feb. 13, 1998. Hunter recorded objects and events as seen from her vantage on the plantation with humor and simplicity, such as high masses and funerals, cotton picking, laundry toting, and zinnias, her favorite flower. The exhibition will include works from 1944 to 1981. For more information, please call 904/432-6247.

"Pueblo Pottery from New Mexico: A Selection from the Museum's Collection," featuring 12 Native American ceramic pieces dating from the 11th to the early 20th century,is on view at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., through the summer of 1998. The vessels,from the Zuni, Acoma,Zia,and San Ildefonso pueblos, display a similar vocabulary of geometric forms and rhythmic patterns integrated with intricate depictions of animal and plant life, painted in black, red, and orange on a white slip background. Created by women,the coil pots were traditionally used to hold food and water. For more information, please call 603/646-2808.

0, Appalachia Revisited "0, Appalachia Revisited" will be on view at the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art in Owensboro, Ky.,from Jan. 11 to Feb. 22, 1998. Highlighting gifts to the permanent collection from the Ramona and Millard Lampell

0,Appalachia Collection of American Folk Art, the exhibition will be complemented by a survey of the museum's Kentucky Spirit Collection. For more information, please call 502/685-3181.


CONTEMPOR AMERICAN

Laffal Collection in Connecticut "20th Century Folk Art from the Collection of Flo and Jules Laffar is on view at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum at Connecticut College in New London, Conn., through Jan. 4, 1998. A collection that was 20 years in the making, it features 150 pieces both serious and humorous in nature, including more than 20 works by the Reverend Howard Finster, as well as works by selftaught artists Lee Godie, Clementine Hunter, Felicien Levesque, Carl McKenzie, and John Vivolo. For more information, please call 860/443-2545.

FOLK

AR

Y

ART.

PRINCE CHARMING Lee Godie Chicago Date unknown Watercolor and ballpoint pen on paper 24 18" Collection of Flo and Jules Laffal

The Nek Chand Foundation The Nek Chand Foundation has been formed to aid in the completion, restoration, and preservation of the Rock Garden of Chandigarh in India. Constructed by Nek Chand from rocks and discarded industrial objects over a period of 33 years, the 25-acre site features hundreds of mosaic-encrusted sculptures—depicting all levels of

Indian society and animal life— set in a series of neatly planned, walled courtyards and walkways. For more information, please contact Sara Burns, The Nek Chand Foundation, 34 Highbury Place, London N5 1QP,England, 011 71 359 1747,fax 011 71 226 3255;email sbums@gallery. source.ulc.

The gallery proudly introduces the work of

NORA MAE CARMICHAEL. Coincidentally sharing a middle name with Nellie Mae Rowe, Carmichael's work—like Rowe's—is inspired by divine intervention. Her drawings of common folk,—the people around her—like those of Rowe, are vibrant, colorful, poignant, powerful and beautiful.

1086 Madison Avenue (at 82nd Street) New York, NY 10028 (212) 249-7250 Detail of Nek Chand's Rock Garden in Chandigarh, India

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 29


MINIATURES Norwegian viking from Nick Engelbert's Grandview environment, Hollandale, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Environments "Nick Engelbert and Mary Nohl: Objects and Environments" is on view at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wis., through Jan. 4, 1998. Both Engelbert and Nohl transformed their Wisconsin yards into environments of concrete sculpture and embellished the exteriors of their homes and filled the interiors with paintings and objects, making them an integral part of the environments. Nohl constructed huge animal and human figures and heads of pebble-encrusted concrete. Engelbert embedded china, glass, beads, buttons, and seashells in concrete covering the entire surface of his farmhouse, Grandview, and created more than 40 sculptures in his yard. Recently, Grandview, which is located in Hollandale, Wis., was restored. Navajo Folk Art

Fish('abinet Series, painted furniture, 72x30x17", 1997

Time Magazine called Jim Wagner the "Father of Southwest Painted Furniture". His furniture and his book,Jim Wagner, Taos: An American Artist, are available from the gallery. On exhibit through December: Works of Elijah Pierce and William Hawkins

LESLIE MUTH GALLERY Hours 10-5, Monday-Saturday 131 West Palace, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 (505)989-4620,fax.(505)989-4937

30 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

"Navajo Folk Art," an exhibition featuring woodcarving, mixedmedia constructions, beaded sculpture, pottery, and woven pictorial rugs from the eastern and central regions of Navajo territory, is on view at the San Francisco Craft and Folk Art Museum through Jan. 4, 1998. Organized by curator Leslie Muth,"Navajo Folk Art" features the work of Johnson Antonio, Sheila Antonio, Roger Armstrong, Silas Claw, Mamie Deschillie, Bruce Hathale, Dennis Hathale. Leland Holiday. Elizabeth Willeto Ignacio, Dennis Pioche, Sara Tso, and Robin Willeto. For more information, please call 415/775-0991.

Other Wisconsin sites restored by the Kohler Foundation include Fred Smith's Concrete Park in Phillips, the Paul and Matilda Wegner Grotto in Monroe County, the Painted Forest in Valton, the Mecikalski Stovewood Building in Oneida County, Herman Rusch's Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden at Cochrane, and the James A. Tellen, Sr., art site in Sheboygan. For more information, please call 414/458-6144. Bard Brothers at The Seaport The vibrant era of late 19th-century American maritime history as documented by ship portraitists James and John Bard is presented in the exhibition "The Bard Brothers: Painting America Under Steam and Sail," on view at The South Street Seaport Museum in New York City through Feb. 1, 1998. Organized by curators Anthony J. Peluso and Lynda Roscoe Hartigan in association with The Mariner's Museum in Newport News, Va., the traveling exhibition includes 35 paintings, drawings, and watercolors of sea vessels, seascapes, and Hudson River landscapes. For information, please call 212/748-8600.

GIRAFFE WITH RIDER, Mamie Deschillie, New Mexico (Navajo Nation), c. 1987, cardboard construction, 46 25,collection of Leslie and Henri Muth

Leslie Muth Gallery. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Jim Wagner


CITY WITHIN A CITY, Marion Boot Hamilton, Charleston, South Carolina, c. 1978, house paint on plywood, 4 x 8,collection of the South Carolina State Museum, Columbia

Still Worth Keeping "Still Worth Keeping: Communities, Preservation and Self-Taught Artists," a three-part exhibition addressing the work of self-taught artists in the Carolinas and throughout the world, is on view at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, S.C., through March 8, 1998. Organized by curators Polly Lafitte, Roger Man-

ley, Mark Sloan, and Tom Stanley, the exhibition also explores the communities that have recognized the value of artists' environments and have preserved them in one way or another. "Still Worth Keeping" is accompanied by a small exhibition of works by Sam Doyle. For more information, please call 803/737-4921.

Billy Ray Hussey "Billy Ray Hussey: North Carolina Visionary Potter" is on view at the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, N.C., through Feb. 22, 1998. Hussey, a native of Moore County, in the heart of the Piedmont pottery region, draws on traditional southern folk pottery methods to create lively animal figures and face jugs, digging local clay and mixing glazes using traditional formulas. The exhibition, which is accompanied by an illustrated catalog, includes 125 pieces tracing 20 years of production. For more information, please call 704/337-2000.

DEVIL FACE BANK, Billy Ray Hussey, Robbins, North Carolina, 1980, clay, 10 x 8,collection of William W. Ivey

C o Atri6 cr Gallery

HAI Artists "Outsider Artists of Hospital Audiences, Inc.," an exhibition of works by self-taught artists associated with Hospital Audiences, Inc.(HAI), will be on view at The Noyes Museum of Art in Oceanville, NJ.,from Jan. 18 to

April 12, 1998. HAI is a nonprofit organization working with artists who have spent as many as 25 years in state mental hospitals before returning to live in the community. For more information, please call 609/652-8848.

Barbara Brogdon 1611 Hwy. 129 S.• Cleveland, GA 30528 (706)865-6345 • FAX (106) 219-3112 www.rosehipsart.com • email: rosehips@stc.net

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 31


MINIATURES

A 2

NUESTRA SENORA DE SAN JUAN DE LOS LAGOS Jose Rafael Aragon New Mexico 1820-1862 Wood and natural pigments 9/ 1 2 7" Collection of Barbe Awak and Paul Rhetts

Santos: Retablos and Bultos

Museum Charlotte Zander SchloB Bonnigheim

Artists - Circus - Clowns July 5 to December 7, 1997 Tattoo July 5 to December 7, 1997 Recent Acquisitions December 12 to February 8, 1998 Sava SekuliE February 14 to July 12, 1998 HauptstraBe 15, D-74357 Bonnigheim, Germany Tel.07143-4226 Fax.07143-4220 Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

32 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

"Our Saints Among Us: 400 Years of New Mexican Devotional Art," a traveling exhibition, is on view at the San Juan College Art Gallery in Farmington, N.Mex.,through Jan. 18, 1998. The Spanish influence on the art of the Southwest is examined through 350 pieces,including

contemporary santos as well as retablos and bultos from the 18th and 19th centuries, by 110 artists. The exhibition, which will travel to Santa Clara, Calif., Pueblo, Colo., and Albuquerque and Los Alamos, N.Mex.,is accompanied by a catalog. For more information, please call 505/344-9382.

Mastery of Deception

Maridean Hutton 1933-1997

"Deceit, Deception, and Discovery," an exhibition examining the issues of fakes and forgeries in art and antiques, is on view at the Winterthur Museum in Winterthur, Del., through Jan. 31, 1999. Objects that have been modified with the intention to deceive can be uncovered today using visual, analytical, historical, and technological techniques, yet many questions of authenticity result from misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and misattribudon. Fraudulent pieces will be exhibited alongside authentic pieces to illustrate the mastery of deception. For more information, please call 302/888-4600.

Maridean Hutton, the Children's Workshop Coordinator and a docent for the Museum of American Folk Art, died on July 13 at HealthSpan Hospice in Lake Minnetonka, Minn., after a long illness. Shortly before her retirement from herjob as an art teacher in the New York City public schools, mostly at the elementary level, Hutton matriculated in the Folk Art Institute program in folk art studies. She became a Fellow of the Museum in 1995, upon completion of all her requirements. A longtime advocate of John Dewey's philosophy of experiential education in a holistic, rational, democratic setting, Hutton sought to awaken each child's creativity, individuality, and


MANHATTAN ART & ANTIQUES CENTER communication through art. She was particularly interested in the creative process. Her wry sense of humor and quiet demeanor were translated into a nonauthoritarian workshop setting that was conducive to experimentation, stimulating activity, and imaginative responses. Among her research interests were Hmong handwork, Pennsylvania German sgrafitto designs, and children's art. Her article on stone sculptors William Edmondson, Ernest "Popeye" Reed, and Ted Ludwiczak was published in the Spring 1996 issue of this magazine. Maridean Hutton was an intelligent, generous, sharing person, and one who will long be remembered at the Museum. Her inspi-

ration guides Beth Connor and Ann Martocci, current leaders of the Children's Workshop program,in a very direct way. Connor and Martocci worked closely with Hutton and continue to incorporate her philosophy of art education for children into the Museum's weekly programs. Hutton is survived by her mother, Christine Watt, her sister Carolyn Reynolds, her brotherin-law, Jack, a niece, a nephew, several grandnephews, and many friends. —Lee Kogan

The Nation's Largest and Finest Antiques Center. Over 100 galleries offering Period Furniture, Jewelry, Silver, Americana, Orientalia, Africana and other Objets d'Art. 1050 SECOND AVENUE(AT 55TH ST.) NEW YORK, N.Y. 10022 PRESENTS

dip-4*-m

Marie Wilson 1923-1997 Marie Wilson, one of the founding members of the New York chapter of the Women of Color (hulter's Network and a nationally recognized quilt designer, died on Sept. 10 after a lengthy illness. Born in Chicago, Wilson moved to New York shortly after her marriage in 1943 and lived there until her death. Her interest in fiber arts was natural, as she was the daughter and granddaughter of accomplished embroiderers and quilters. Self-taught, Wilson began to quilt in 1976 as an experiment. She called her works, which are primarily narrative, "contemporary tapestries." Wilson left a rich and enduring legacy. Outstanding were her 1982 design American Beauty Appliqués,for the Bloomingdale's fall promotion of American designers and craftsmen, her 1985 involvement in the Weaver of

Dreams quilt honoring Martin Luther King,Jr., and her 1992 design for the construction of Tableau, a 10-foot-by-14-foot quilt commissioned by the Dance Theatre of Harlem in celebration of their 25th anniversary. Active in the Manhattan chapter of the Embroiderers Guild of America, Wilson was involved in hands-on workshop programs and gave slide demonstrations for the Museum of American Folk Art, the American Craft Museum,and the Elder Craftsmen Training Studio. Wilson is survived by her husband, Theobold,two children, Sydney and Susan, and three grandchildren. —Lee Kogan

TUMBLING BLOCKS HOOKED RUG, 9'square, circa 1950. A lively rainbow palette, finely hooked from old Pendleton wools, made by a little old lady in upstate New York (seriously!).

LAURA FISHER ANTIQUE QUILTS& AMERICANA Gallery #84 New York City's largest, most exciting selection of Antique Quilts, Hooked Rugs, Coverlets, Paisley Shawls, Beacon Blankets, Vintage Accessories and American Folk Art. Laura Fisher: Tel: 212-838-2596 Monday-Saturday 11AM-6PM The Manhattan Art & Antiques Center: Tel: 212-355-4400 • Fax: 212-355-4403 Open Daily 10:30-6, Sun. 12-6 Convenient Parking • Open to the Public

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 33


I ELLA S

RUBIN Fine Antique Quilts and Decorative Arts

12300 Glen Road Potomac, MD 20854 (Near Washington, D.C.) By appointment (301)948-4187 ;

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South Carolina Broderie Perse summer spread. Signed and dated June 14, 1852. Exhibiting at American at the Piers, New York City, January 17& 18.

RARE WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA BLANKET CHEST

BIRD MOTIF SIMILAR TO THAT FOUND IN MAHANTONGO VALLEY LENGTH:39 INCHES DEPTH:18 '4 INCHES A FINE EXAMPLE IN UNTOUCHED CONDITION

226 West 21st Street New York, N.Y. 10011 (212)929-8769 Appointment Suggested Subject to prior sale.

34 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART


Robert Cargo

FOLK ART GALLERY Contemporary Folk Art • Haitian Spirit Flags Southern, Folk, and African-American Quilts

Sybil Gibson (1908-1995) Joseph Hardin (1921-1989) Rev. B. E Perkins (1904-1993) Jimmie Lee Sudduth (1910- ) Mose Tolliver (ca. 1920- ) Fred Webster (1911- ) The gallery maintains an extensive inventory of early, quality works by these Alabama folk/outsider artists of the First Generation. The inventory also includes works by numerous other artists, primarily, but not exclusively, from the southeastern United States. Write or call for complete list of gallery artists. In addition to works by these artists, the gallery carries an extensive stock of antique quilts, including museum-quality pieces, as well as a large, carefully-selected group of contemporary African-American quilts and Haitian voodoo flags that is constantly changing. 2314 Sixth Street, Downtown, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35401 • Home Phone 205-758-8884 Open weekends only and by appointment • Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 2 to 5 p.m.


TINY TIN MAUS BIG IMPRBSI N The 1997

Museum of American Folk Art Holiday Trees

ach year a chapter of the Historical Society of Early American Decoration(HSEAD) creates ornaments for the Museum's holiday trees. This year, Central New York Chapter members have produced on miniature tin a variety of stencil and country tin designs. These authentic and original designs were reduced in size to fit the 2 to 2/ 1 2" trays, pitchers, and pots. In addition to these charming ornaments, vermilion and yellow ochre paper swags, cut in a rope and tassel shape—a motif and colors common in the decora-

E

36 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

tive arts of the last century—were hung from the branches to complete the decoration. The Central New York Chapter encompasses a large area from Syracuse south to Binghamton and Ithaca. Among the many projects that the members of this chapter have undertaken, one of the most rewarding was to stencil two rooms for a family, after they found original stencil patterns on the walls under several layers of wallpaper in their house. The Chapter's goal is to inform the public of the purpose of HSEAD, which,in part, is to preserve the techniques used on decorative arti-

cies found in early American homes. To accomplish this, they have held displays and demonstrations at antique shows,libraries, and museums. In 1996 and 1997, the Central New York Chapter was asked to participate in the New York State Historical Association's Annual Fall Festival to display and demonstrate the work done by HSEAD members. A number of articles in the display included the original artifact, plus a copy done by an HSEAD member. The scope of items chosen was purposely broad in order to demonstrate the depth and breadth of the

HSEAD program. For more information on the HSEAD chapter in your area, write to Beverly McCarthy at the Museum of American Folk Art,61 West 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023,or call 212/977-7170. The holiday trees are on view now through January 4 at the Museum's Eva and Morris Feld Gallery on Columbus Avenue between 65th and 66th Streets. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11:30 A.M. to 7:30 P.M. Admission is free.* —Evelyn C. Brumstead Central New York Chapter, HSEAD


lo\AERicitiv *FOLK* \

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\ N I I LI 1

1..: S

JEEMEEEEE>

Showcasing important Americana including:

SIGNIFICANT 18TH & 19TH CENTURY AMERICAN FURNITURE

EARLY-MID 20TH CENTURY CRAFTS

ANTIQUE FOLK ART

CONTEMPORARY FOLK POTTERY

CONTEMPORARY FOLK PAINTING

Open Mon-Sat, 10am-5prn • Fax (704) 251-0884 64 Biltmore Avenue • Asheville, North Carolina 28801 • Tel.(704) 251-1904 AMERICAN FOLK IS A COLLABORATION OF

CHARLTON

LTD. BRADSHER AMERICAN ANTIQUES AND BLUE SPIRAL 1, A DIVISION OF NEW MORNING

NICK ENGELBERT AND MARY NOHL Objects and Environments Through January 4, 1998

Boy Reading by Nick Engelbert

ARTSl'

o1CENTERI Michael

Sculpture Garden by Mary Nohl

608 New York Avenue, Sheboygan, WI 53081 • 920-458-6144 contributions from members. This exhibition has been made possible through the support of corporate, foundation, and individual

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 37


Uncommon Folk Bill Traylor Drawings from the Collection of Joe and Pat Wilkinson Auction in New York: Wednesday, December 3, 1997

Exhibition opens: Friday, November 28 This sale will begin immediately following the American Paintings auction. Bill Traylor Two Men with Dog on Construction Pencil and gouache on cardboard 2

12 'A by 8 in.(30.8 by 20.3 cm.) Auction estimate: $30,000-40,000

For more information, please call Nancy Drucicman at(212) 606-7225 or fax (212)606-7038. To purchase an illustrated catalogue,call(800)4443709; outside the continental U.S., call (203)847-0465 or fax (203)849-0223. http://www.sothebys.com Sotheby's 1334 York Avenue New York, NY 10021

SOTHEBY'S

20th Century Folk Art From the Collection ofFlo and Jules Laffal September 27, 1997 through January 4, 1998

Lyman Allyn Art Museum 625 Williams Street New London, Connecticut (860) 443-2545

38 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART


ANNOUNCEMENT

FIGURES AND CONSTRUCTION WITH BLUE BORDER Bill Traylor (1856-1949) Montgomery, Alabama c. 1941 Poster paint on cardboard 151 2, 8" / Museum of American Folk Art, gift of Charles and Eugenia Shannon, 1991.34.1

SAVE THE DATE! The Board of Trustees of the Museum of American Folk Art is pleased to announce the

rd Annual 3 Benefit Dinner following the Opening Night Preview of the Outsider Art Fair Thursday, January 22, 1998 Preview 5:30-8:30 P.M. Benefit Dinner Immediately Following in the Skylight Ballroom The Puck Building Lafayette and Houston Streets New York City

Js a charm, and the Museum of American Folk Art is delighted to announce its 3rd Annual Benefit Dinner following the Opening Night Preview of the Outsider Art Fair in New York. Didi and David Barrett and Taryn and Mark Leavitt, cochairs for the event, have a festive evening planned with Isaac Tigrett, our special honoree. Tigrett, founder of the House of Blues, will be saluted for his commitment to contemporary folk art and his out-

reach to inner-city schoolchildren through the International House of Blues Foundation. Come join us to celebrate this new Museum tradition with good food, good wine, and good fellowship. For more information and for reservations for the Benefit Dinner, please contact the special

events department at the Museum's administrative offices, 212/977-7170. Seating is limited. Tickets for the Benefit Dinner are $1,000 for Benefactors,$500 for Patrons, and $250 for Supporters, and include admission to the preview. Benefactor tables of 10 are available for $10,000 and Patron

tables of 10 are available for $5,000. Corporate tables of 10 are available for $20,000 and $10,000. Your participation in this fund-raising event will help support the Museum's exhibition and educational programs, as well as the newly formed Contemporary Center.*

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 39


GATEKE PE

OF CULTURE

THE BY

I

RANDALL

the Works of MORRIS

n a film made by the BBC in the 1980s, the master artist-priest Kapo (Mallica Reynolds) is seen in his wheelchair looking at the large

collection of his visionary sculptures in the collection of the National Gallery of Jamaica. He claims that he lost his legs due to the weight of the lignum vitae wood he had been carving for so long. In his next breath he says the loss has not diminished him as a man, a priest, or a sculptor in any way. A Revival priest, his life and his art was one long integration of spirit and art. His sculptures Tl. CIEL AT THE describe the ecstasy of the visionary trance. • In Airlie Gardens in North Carolina in the

COCKFIGHT Philome Obin Haiti 1945 Oil on board 16 24" Private collection

early forties, Minnie Evans records her trancelike spiritual meditations on paper. A combination of the powers and beauties of nature, the spirit-writings of her Trinidadian grandmother, and apocalyptic passages of the Bible, the drawings are chronicles of her travels through landscapes via her vehicle of paper. No matter how extreme the images, she never loses her perspectives on family, neighborhood, or the processes of spiritual and physical survival in the South.

40 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART


African American Self-Taught Artists

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 41


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Also in the early forties, Philome Obin paints a series of oil paintings, sometimes populated with hundreds of detailed figures in which he questions the brutality of the southern U.S. Marines sent to occupy Haiti in the 1920s. His inspiration is political and Protestant. Through the medium of paint he seeks to impose order on the world and question the need for brute military power in his dreams for continued freedom in the first self-liberating black country in the Western Hemisphere. With the exceptions of several one-person exhibitions and the seminal but flawed exhibition "Black Folk Art in America, 1930-1980," presented at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., in 1982, there have been all too few well-curated exhibitions of self-taught African American artists in this country. The same can be said for Anglo and non-Anglo self-taught artists as well. The reasons are not mysterious, the lack of methodology is.

THE LOVERS Hector Hyppolite Haiti 1946 Oil on cardboard 2 29" / 211 Collection of Amr Shaker

Perhaps this strange lack is made more explainable by looking at the history of the "field." The lack of theoretical coherence is probably one of the reasons that there is sometimes such hostility to the field from the artworld at large. Thus far, curating and writing has been so general, so paternalistic, so empty of recognition of the concerns of history, anthropology, art history, sociology, and the like that each show appears and presents a catalog in which the viewpoints of the collectors are offered up as expertise, bolstered by well-meaning but misguided essays on African roots, coincidental African formalism, and a few anecdotes about primitive (folksy) working conditions supported by yet more (folksy) quotes and homilies. The catalog leaps Onto the shelf with all the other catalogs of the same ilk. But beyond the simplest birth and death information, one never uses these catalogs for information because the facts

come from previous similar catalogs that come from previous catalogs. The rate at which new information is introduced is very slow. How has such an incredibly rich and deep part of our culture come to be presented in such a limp and constricted fashion? True, the presentation of African American artists, trained and untrained, is a mine field in this era of political correctness, but the lack of approach is more than just a desire not to offend. Despite lack of funding, despite certain strange reactions against art itself, people still manage to collect and curators manage to present less than "safe" shows in other contemporary art venues. There is an unfortunate tendency to "pasteurize" African American art, to confine it in such a way that the anger, the cultural resistance, the essential issues of culture are hidden in the myths of previous views of"folk art." We don't say "primitive" or "naive" anymore (do we?), but nothing else in the curatorial attitude has really changed. There have been a few exceptions. One was the exhibition of the work of Thornton Dial, Sr., "Thornton Dial: Image of the Tiger," presented by the Museum of American Folk Art and The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, in 1993. The catalog did nothing to hide the African American issues in the work. Though incomplete, the Corcoran "Black Folk Art" show at least attempted to introduce and make a sweep of a field that had never been focused on before. Another exhibition, "Black History and Artistry," mounted at the Sidney Mishkin Gallery at Baruch College in New York City and featuring parts of the Blanchard-Hill Collection, made a statement about a grouping curated by Sandra Kraskin with the collectors' strong aesthetic viewpoint in mind. These and other, too few exceptions prove the rule. There are ways out of the rut. Though an entire book could be made on the problems of specifically presenting African American self-taught artists, this introductory essay will focus primarily on a very few in order to show the fascinating and wonderful possibilities of expanding perspectives. This has to do with a concept I ran across when I began to research the selftaught artists of Jamaica. A friend said, "Please don't neglect Haiti." The conunent excited me in ways I didn't fully understand at first. In fact, the more I understood what had happened to art history in the Caribbean, the more about the African American Diaspora I read and saw, the more I understood about the incredible and important historical underpinnings of the art made in the southern United States and Haiti—and by extension the other islands as well. My concept of America was forever changed by these realizations. Though I live in North America, the origins of many of the people around me are Caribbean. We are taught to see African Americans from the United States

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 43


as being separate from "other" black people, as if the entire resistance and Creolization, making work as a further cry of slavery system and our national role in the slave holocaust liberation, of expansion of narrative culture, as reactions to could be assuaged by separating "our" part of it from the a world passing from slavery days to the deadly dynamics rest. But there was a time when our country was much of combating racism. more culturally involved with the Caribbean because of the This then was the open curatorial door, the pathway slavery system. to myriad possibilities of presentation. This large and The convergence of religions in order to combat the largely undocumented body of work was not "isolated" or evils of slavery created rivulets and ripples of culture that "outsider." It was absolutely contemporaneous and made in are still very much alive today. My focus was less on reaction to many of the same factors in the work of African African retentions than on cultural survival. These religions American trained artists. True, there were regional factors and this nascent art were and are American! Born here! that changed from country to country, but none of them I am in no way whatsoever denying the presence of erased the root in much the same way that orchestral jazz Africa, but writers and curators seem unable to get does not erase the blues. The commonalities far exceed past Africa when writing about this work—as if the the differences, and behind it all was the moral presence of people hadn't really changed after emancipation and the the ancestors. artists were still swimming in a post-slavery sea of identity It is so easy to fall back onto a singular perspective confusion, frozen in time. Africa changes as well; it when working with art. The very basis of standard scholarbecomes a spiritual presence, a spinal reference in a skele- ship is to cut away and minimize extraneous factors in ton of myth and memory. What is often overlooked in this order to find essence and clarify a subject. In this field there field is that Africa becomes a symbol of moral freedom and is an ever-present danger of cutting away so much that vital spiritual redemption. The African landscape becomes a information is lost as well and the perspective shrinks. This noble ancestor. It is not only the promised land but a sym- is one reason no name has ever been thought of—the one bol of Zion. It is something to hold on to in a place in the name that would generically describe self-taught artists. heart that remains after all else has been stripped away in None comes remotely close to being all-inclusive. Art by the slavery holocaust. African American self-taught For five hundred years there has been an American artists cannot be called "outHARMONIZING life, a life firmly placed now in the American landscape sider." The name becomes dense Horace Pippin based on the synthesis of plantation and separation and with political and racial overWest Chester, Pennsylvania loss. There is less and less of a re-creation of the old coun- tones. The intentionality may be 1944 try than there is a rebuilding informed by new flora and rooted in a folk culture but it, as Oil on canvas fauna, new visions, new input from native Americans and well as the formalism and tech24 30" Allen Memorial Art the long continuation of racism and economic and political nique, is innovative as in any Museum, Oberlin College, repression and a new hard-won spirituality. other art, so "folk" was always a Ohio, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Bissett, 64.26 I thought about all this as I walked through the bad name for it. Writers on HaiNational Gallery of Jamaica and saw the genius of the tian self-taught artists always Millers and Kapo, and the enigmatic paintings of John referred to the work as "primitive" and "naive." Less pejoDunkley. Their lives were emerging for me inextricably rative but still hopelessly nonspecific is the Jamaican use of entwined with the Caribbean events they grew up with. I the word "intuitive." In the United States, we have used all saw how it expanded from that, how it was not only of the above and a couple of dozen more, including Jamaica but the Caribbean, and it was not only the "African American," as if it were a phrase designating just Caribbean but also the southern and Diasporic United the United States. States as well as Canada and England. Faced by disillusionEach country spun a web of entrapment around ment with European roles in the world wars, unfruitful or the work that made it seem unique to that country. Each overly difficult migrations to make money, and the return country also made it seem as if the art had sprung up to racist situations after fighting in the wars, inspired by the spontaneously in a "renaissance" or a miracle, a sudden pheteachings of Marcus Garvey, the movements of Negritude, nomenon of isolated genius, separating the work from the the Harlem Renaissance, the writings of Franz Fanon, the cultures of its makers, ignoring the cultures that contained growing civil rights movements in the United States, and the compression so necessary and logical for its unveiling. many other factors of unrest and change, the self-image of Take Haiti as an example. Until the Fowler Museum African Americans was changing fast. I saw that the artists exhibition "Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou"(currently tourin this same America as the other artists I knew of were ing the United States) appeared, the books always took the faced by the same dreams and disillusionment. I realized viewpoint that the Haitian self-taught artists sprang up then that there was a generation of old masters never really overnight with no artistic precedent. Writers on self-taught focused on as such together. In Haiti, to name a very few artists always seem to ignore the trained artists who set the for example, were Hector Hyppolite and Philome Obin, artistic climates as well. Seldom was mention made of the Rigaud Benoit and Seneque Obin, working at the same active art movements by writers, artists, and poets previous time as the North American artists Horace Pippin, William to and contemporaneous with the emergence of the selfEdmondson, Elijah Pierce, Ellis Ruley, and Bill Traylor, taught artists. The self-taught artists were also (in print) Frank Jones and Minnie Evans. All of them and so many separated from the art inherent to their religions and folkothers were making work fueled by this long history of ways. The canon ignored anything that was not Eurocentri-

44 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART


WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 45


44 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

decoration and visual expression came out of hiding. Cultural music was and still is being made. Ofttimes the artwork contains exactly the same concerns as the localized musical forms. The base of these expressions is African-Christian in content, broken down into regional themes. For example, one can look at the art in the United States as having two very strong moral forces behind it—one being the music of the Church as in the case of Sister Gertrude Morgan, some of Bessie Harvey's work, Elijah Pierce, etc., the other being the deep Legba-Eshu-saturated trickster forces of the blues. Both musics are concerned with moral behaviors; the blues singer sets his or her own self up as an example of right or wrong behavior before the community and presents a more day-by-day blueprint for living than the more conservative and unearthly spirituals can. More recently, we can view the works of Mose Tolliver and Herbert Singleton among others as indicative of the blues orientation. However, it must be remembered that the black Church in America (all America) was established as a form of resistance to oppression and/or racism in the overall church. The southern Church, and the Jamaican Church in particular, became areas of redemption: traditional pathways of recognizing racial solidarities and empowerment. In Jamaica the music is faced by the same forces, influenced both by the Native Baptist church in the nineteenth century and its later Revival influence (already Africanized in intention) on one hand, and buru, mento, calypso, and the incipient influence of Rastafarian nyabinghi drumming (the roots of what we know as reggae) on the other. These provide the secularized and spiritual choices. There is a Vodou-like religion in Jamaica called Kumina, but it is practiced by a smaller percentage of the population than Africanized Christianity. It manifests in the artwork through the intention of the artist but thus far there have not been many paintings or sculptures specifically about Kumina. There are, however, beautifully organized yard shows in the yards of Kumina priests and healers. In Haiti the dichotomy remains, with Catholicism on one hand and Vodou on the other, each with its often separate moral demands. In Haiti most of the artwork of the period we Ellen Page Wilson

cally identifiable as art. The art was used as a call for tourists to come and partake in a phenomenon unlike one anywhere else. In Jamaica the same approach was taken, but with a more intelligent mixing of trained and untrained artists. The "Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou" exhibit, organized by the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, and "Face of the Gods: Art and Altars of Africa and the African Americas," curated by Robert Farris Thompson, have made it overt for the first time that the culture contains all the factors, that this art then becomes an extension of the culture in which, in the best of conditions, secular and spiritual life is interpreted on a daily basis regardless of its role in galleries. It is made as a service in homage to culture. The making of a two- or three-dimensional artwork has a close relationship with oral culture in a vernacular context as well. In its constant utilization of the narrative, it is a sibling of the art of storytelling, sharing many sources of inspiration. With the exception of a few artists (mostly post-1960s) whose work is directly visionary and abstract in form, nearly all the work we are concerned with here is in some way an extension of the narrative form. This covers a huge range, whether it is the mystically encoded Vodou tableaus of Hector Hyppolite, the transcendent travel chronicles of Joseph Yoakum, or the Rastafarian reasonings of Brother Everald Brown. Many of the forms of storytelling apply to the artwork as well, such as repetition and embellishment. Often artists repeat themes and motifs over and over in ways that seem serial on the surface but under closer scrutiny reveal some sort of addition or reduction to the series. The emphasis of the art-maker, as with the storyteller, is the development of an extremely recognizable personal style as a trademark. Looking at the old masters, some may work in similar genres but no work of any two of them from any country look remotely alike. There is also a close relationship between the artwork and music. Spiritual need and fulfillment has always manifested in a musical way. In slavery and postslavery times, the tools of music were seldom more than the clapping of hands and the intricacy of the human voice. Instruments were more often than not forbidden, but after emancipation instruments were built and the power of

LUAU Ellis Ruley Norwich, Connecticut c. 1950 Oil-based house paint on posterboard 211 / 2 28" Collection of Edward V. Blanchard and M. Anne Hill

ANGEL William Edmondson Nashville, Tennessee C. 1930 Limestone 23 111 / 2 6s/o" Collection of Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Photo, courtesy Fleisher/Oilman Gallery, Philadelphia


THE BLOOD: THEY DON'T LOOK FOR NOTHING TO STAY ALIVE Thornton Dial, Sr. Bessemer, Alabama 1989 Mixed media on plywood 48 96" Museum of American Folk Art, gift of William Arnett in memory of Robert Bishop, 1992.10.3

are describing had either Vodou or Catholic overtones and underpinnings, and more often than not, both. The translation of the music of the ceremonies into the artworks was quite direct. The popular music of Haiti had and continues to have the same wide range and impact as the artworks. It is important to remember here that though we are dealing with the period of 1930 to 1965 or so, the permutations continue to unwind and extend. The music that shows up in the art now is just as much about rap and reggae,jazz and soul, dancehall and racine (roots music). The questions are still asked within the forms, and the styles are updated and the artists are younger. Many of the same issues of resistance and survival remain. It can be seen that we have this need now to look over, compare, and rebuild a major segment of art history—to see the works of William Edmondson, Bill

By examining the artists in the context of culture rather than in the context of an art "field," important information is revealed. The role of"art maker" in a culture carries its own scenarios: the keeper of culture, the charismatic personality, the type of human who takes on the role of making cultural markers, etc. These artists became charters of their culture's movements in time and space, leaving records of struggle and survival legible to all mankind. The works themselves can stop spinning endlessly in temporal purgatory when given the right curatorial attention. We need to know why a Bill Traylor Mule and Cart from 1944 has a more immediate reality than one made by another artist in 1993. We will feel more fully the impact of Horace Pippin's postwar sadness and hopes and reminiscences, his sense of the precariousness of place after seeing the destruction in Europe, the yearning for homeland in

Traylor, Minnie Evans, Ellis Ruley, Clementine Hunter, Horace Pippin, Sam Doyle, Frank Jones, Hector Hyppolite, Georges Liautaud, Philome and Seneque Obin, Rigaud Benoit, Robert St. Brice, Wesner Laforest, Sidney McClaren, David Miller Sr. and Jr., Everald Brown, Mallica Reynolds(Kapo)and many others together as parts of a holistic history and vision. I cannot overemphasize the fact that these and other artists were all making their work at the same time. Once this bulwark of acceptance has been built, the museums must integrate them into black art history and into contemporary art history simultaneously. These artists were contemporaneous. All of them were confirmed in their roles as art makers before they were discovered. They were not a movement. Their works were made as declarations of their dual roles in their culture—individuals on one hand and enrichers of their society on the other.

John Dunldey's disturbing paintings, or the questioning of the U.S. occupation in the masterful paintings of Phitoil-16 Obin as well as the spiritual hegemony of color, nature, and sensuality in the works of Hector Hyppolite. We will learn that the yard shows have a long history in all black countries and are the ultimate cries of"we are" and "one and the many" in their creator's consistent attempts to create sacred spaces in the hostile faces of their oppressors. In America the art of maintaining a sense of self, the act of living one's own life in a dignified fashion becomes a political act. The work of the African American Diaspora artists is a direct response to America itself, the landscape, as well as to those others who were here before Columbus. For the most part, the art itself is a form of American language with its words put together from indigenous and vernacular American

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 47


materials. Because of the spiritual hardwiring of the culture itself, the art is a chronicle of the relationships of man, spirit and nature. It incorporates healing and the occult, the sacredness of the hearth, and the integration of man with the natural world. A further infusion of this mind-set came from the interactions of the slaves and the Native Americans. The language of this work comes, not through a European filter (though of course there is sometimes an influence) but from a reworking of culture, a recreation of lifeways using indigenous materials and the direct contact with the components of place. The culture itself seeks to rebuild a sense of locality. The landscape localizes at the same time that the culture opens up for the sake of survival. We can see this in those artworks that show historical or biblical events in a local setting. In the period we are discussing, the marketplace played a very small role in this art making. True, in certain scenarios, once the art was "discovered" by collectors, there was sometimes pressure exerted to keep a "safer" or more "commercial" edge, but this usually did not influence the output of the most important artists. No one thought they could get rich with this work, and at the most maybe one could make a modest living at it. Making art was seen as a job, as an extension of "tool" or "craft," a part of everyday living, like cooking or making music. The work was going to be done whether the pieces sold or not; it was the culture that was the determinant, not the market. It is only in the last twenty years or so that the market has become a significant propellant for some self-taught artists. What this changes in the main is the determination of the artist not to be corrupted by it and to remain true to

2

Jenny and Donald Brown at Ken Church, Kingston, Jamaica, 1960s

the deeper currents of the culture. Artists like Thornton Dial, Sr., and Bessie Harvey have shown that this is by no means an impossible feat. By setting up our knowledge of these earlier masters, we set up criteria by which we can better understand and appreciate later and currently emerging artists. Seeing the "first generation" of"old masters" gives permission and validation to future generations. With this perspective we can stop looking for new Traylors and Hyppolites, and can

48 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

appreciate new visions. It allows the styles to stay current with the times we live in and frees us from always working within an impossible concept of "authenticity" that seems to hearken and push the work toward looking like it was done in the beginning of the century when life was more "pure." We must intuit and understand the way all cultures change. By mixing old and new constantly on the wall, curators create an illusion of a timeless place where real black art must be made; that it cannot be right if it has grown on urban streets or has reflected a world outside of the rural fields. It is interesting that when the artworld determines that a self-taught black artist's work is more sophisticated he or she is then allowed into the predominantly Eurocentric world of "outsider" art, which instantly deracinates the work with a vengeance. Both Joseph Yoakum and J.B. Murry have gone through this process. There is not enough room in this article to go into detail on the individual artists I am indicating. The field is wide open to research. It is always surprising to see how many artists from that period there actually are. It is my intention here to expose the idea and open fertile ground for a widened perspective of scholarship and ultimately a more fruitful program for exhibiting African American artists. It is imperative that museum collections purporting to show black self-taught artists open up beyond the United States to form a true overview of African American selftaught artists. Better research of the past also leaves the future wide open for important new and young artists to emerge and have their work received in the proper perspective. Ultimately, the superficially constructed borderlines between trained and untrained artists will become unnecessary as well. It was when the collector Wayne Cox introduced me to the young master sculptor Sylvester Stephens in Jamaica that I can pinpoint the exact second the pieces all fell into place for me. Stephens showed me a sculpture in which random letters of the alphabet were carved into a clay cone; each letter connected to a bolt of lightning against a painted black field. "Language is sounds," he said to us, "and sounds have power. You can see here that language then has power." It was all there, the combination of the visual, the historical, the musical and the power of the naked voice presented visually, in a perfect layered logical continuum. The saying in Jamaica goes "Half the story has never been told." The paradox is that the story of African American culture is so rich and so deep that I wonder if the other half can ever be completely told. Vision is given to the human soul and has billions of chances at all times to emerge as art. We will be walking in space suits or oxygen masks in a Star Wars scenario and someone somewhere will feel the whisper of an ancestor or a God and the human hand will make it something in complete sincerity and the mystery will be perpetuated for us that much longer. We will never go so far as to outgrow our need for these gatekeepers of culture.* Randall Morris is a collector and writer, and the co-owner ofCavin-Morris Gallery. He has written many essays and lectured widely on contemporary self-taught artists. Morris's work has been represented in many exhibition catalogs and in this publication.


SELF-PORTRAIT 1978 Oil on canvas / 2" 44 311 Museum of American Folk Art, gift of the artist, 1990.6.1 In this self-portrait the artist is wearing a ring and bracelet that Robert Bishop and Jay Johnson, her dealer, gave her during the brief period when she lived in New York City.

Mattie Lou O'Kelley: Reflections on the Artist and Her -Work BY

GERARD

C.

WERTK1N

ew twentieth-century folk artists have

F

achieved widespread recognition and finan-

cial success during their lifetimes. More often

than not, public acceptance remains elusive until it is too late for the artist to enjoy the fruits of his or her creative endeavors. One of the exceptions to this rule was the Georgia folk painter Mattie Lou O'Kelley, who died on July 26, 1997, at the age of 89. Although she achieved fame and even fortune through her work, she remained quietly introspective and often alone until the end of her life.

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 49


Mattie Lou O'Kelley 1908-1997 \ —ationally celebrated folk artist Mattie Lou O'Kelley, who was best known for her idyllic rural southern landscapes and still lies, died on July 26 at her home in Decatur, Ga., where she had lived since 1983. Born in Maysville, Ga., on March 30, 1908, Kelley was forced to leave school after ninth grade in order to help out on the family farm. She eventually left the farm and held many differentjobs, including seamstress, cook, and waitress, before retiring in 1968 at age 60. That saim year, she took up painting, which interested her for many years, but which she had not had time to pursue. Beginning in 1974 her paintings were displayed for sale in Atlanta's High Museum of Art shop, where they were discovered by the late Dr. Robert Bishop. O'Kelley received the Governor's Award in the Arts from the state of Georgia in 1976 and in the 1980s published several books, including From the Hills ofGeorgia An Autobiography in Paintings (1983), Circus(1986), and Mattie Lou O'Kelley: Folk Artist(1989). She also wrote poetry. A major exhibition of her paintings was presented in 1996 at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center in Williamsburg, Va. O'Kelley's intricately detailed scenes, executed in oil on canvas, portray a romanticized world, and her memories of country life are richly embellished by her vivid imaginatior The artist often used a pointillist tech nique and deeply saturated color to enliven her stylized renderings offruit trees, gardens, hills, and pastures filled with people and animals—all in harmony with nature. Less well known than her bucolic landscapes and still fifes of flowers,fruit, and vegetables are O'Kelley's self-portraits, two of which are in the permanent collection of the Museum of American Folk Art. hi these introspective renderings, the artist revealed herself in a very personal way. —Lee Kogan

50 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

In her will, Mattie Lou O'Kelley generously created a trust to benefit the Museum of American Folk Art and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. She directed that the fund be shared by the two institutions equally, after a small annual payment to care for her parents' graves. In view of the struggles that marked much of her life, the extent of this benefaction is astonishing. The fund consists of almost $1,500,000, the results of three decades of artmaking. It also stands as a testament to O'Kelley's frugal independence, her demanding work ethic, and not least of all, her artistic gifts. It would be impossible to consider the career of Mattie Lou O'Kelley without acknowledging the significance of her relationship with Robert Bishop, director of the Museum of American Folk Art from 1977 through 1991. O'Kelley achieved some success in selling her paintings locally and through the gift shop of the High Museum of Art, and even had seen one of her paintings accepted into that museum's collection, but she remained unknown to the larger world until Bishop encountered her work in 1975. He not only was the instrument though which O'Kelley's paintings first entered the marketplace, but he also opened a new chapter in her life— far beyond anything that she had experienced in the hills of north Georgia. Bishop and O'Kelley were an improbable pair—he, young, bold, an irrepressible promoter who still spoke in the Maine accent of his youth; she, shy and retiring, a dyed-in-the-wool southerner, three decades older than he—but they became fast friends, with a remarkable understanding of each other. Although their relationship was marred by occasional disruption and harsh words, it remained important to them both, until it was cut short by Bishop's untimely death in 1991. Robert Bishop told the story of his relationship with the artist in his introduction to O'Kelley's book of illustrated reminiscences, Mattie Lou O'Kelley: Folk Artist (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1989). On a visit to the High Museum of Art to lecture about quilts and coverlets, Bishop learned about O'Kelley's work from Gud-

mund Vigtel, the director of the museum, who showed him the example in the institution's collection—a 1968 still life that O'Kelley called Spring-Vegetable Scene. He also came upon some other works by the artist in the museum store. "When I saw the remarkable, finely detailed canvases and highly individualized 'dot pictures,' astonishment must have flushed my face," Bishop wrote, "for here was a true American primitive—self-taught, an exquisite recorder of time and place, and most compelling of all, an artist capable of rich detail and a variety of design and texture indicating a unique vision." From the moment of his discovery of O'Kelley's work, Bishop in one way or another was thoroughly absorbed by it. Indeed, he never altered his conviction of the importance of her paintings. If anything, they only grew in his estimation through the years. From all accounts, O'Kelley's early life was difficult. In the tradition

of generations of rural children, she worked hard on her parents' farm, which was located in Banks County, in northern Georgia, and was unable to finish high school because of the demands of home and family. A quiet and withdrawn child, and the sixth of seven brothers and sisters, she remained at home after the others had left, ultimately living with her widowed mother in a small house in Maysville. During the first half of her life, she often hoped that one day she might express herself artistically through writing. In fact, she tried her hand at poetry and fiction, a reflection on the joys that she found through literature as a child and young person. It

PLANTING THE RIVERBEDS 1976 Oil on canvas 24/ 1 2 38" Museum of American Folk Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin C. Braman, 1983.14.7

AFTER THE DRY SPELL 1975 011 on canvas 24>< 32/ 1 4" Museum of American Folk Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin C. Braman, 1983.14.1


her. One of her paintings, Sunday Cat, was the cover image of Life magazine in June 1980. Still, as she told the Life reporter, her artistic expression was highly personal. "I won't cut off an ear if nobody likes my work. I paint for me." In addition to the press coverage that her work inspired and the circle of collectors who sought it out, she also illustrated four books, drawing upon the memories of her life in rural Georgia. In 1977, when Bishop moved to New York to accept the directorship of the Museum of American Folk Art, O'Kelley followed him, residing in an apartment not far from Bishop's own home in the Chelsea section of the city. New York winters were not to her liking, however, and O'Kelley eventually returned to the South, first to Florida, then to her beloved Georgia. By the 1970s and eighties her work was included in several museum collections and exhibitions, including the Museum of American Folk Art. During the 1990s, she was featured in one-person exhibitions at the High Museum of Art and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center in Williamsburg, Virginia. With this recognition came material rewards. She was able to buy her own home in Decatur, Georgia, a source of great pride to her.' She continued to work until very near the end of her life. A child of northern Georgia, she directed that her ashes be scattered among its hills, without any monument to mark the place. Mattie Lou O'Kelley's legacy is her paintings. The Museum of American Folk Art and its audiences will benefit from her generosity for decades to come. She will be remembered affectionately and with respect. * THE BIG FARM IN THE SPRING 1976 Oil on canvas 36 24" Museum of American Folk Art, gift of the artist, 1977.1.1.

was not until the middle of her life that she began to draw or paint seriously. A crayon drawing signed by O'Kelley and dated September 1967 was identified by her as her "first artistic effort." Mattie Lou O'Kelley eschewed the public arena. In a letter to Bishop dated August 24, 1990, the artist observed, "now as when I was younger, I never cared much for publicity. I dearly love to paint and create my own works of art but once I have finished a picture that's the end of it. I do not want anything to do with being a public figure." Although she may not have sought publicity, it came to

NOTES 1 Barbarba R. Luck, "Moving" with Mattie Lou O'Kelley (Williamsburg, Va.: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1995), p.16. 2 Robert Bishop,"Introduction" in Mattie Lou O'Kelley, Mattie Lou O'Kelley: Folk Artist(Boston: Little, Brown & Co. 1989), p. x.

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 51


Jon Serl at home in Lake Elsinore, California, 1982

SERL IN PERSON BY

SUSAN

C.

Jon Serl was a man with many secrets, yet he appeared to be a refreshingly frank and unguarded personality. His extravagantly eccentric, rambling home in the southern California desert town of Lake Elsinore was a haven for odd and creative people and a living laboratory of personal independence. 52 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

LARSEN


THE ORCHARD: c. 1975, oil on wood, 48>< 3.83/e. Private collection

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 53


He maintained a virtual salon of colorful characters that included but was by no means limited to those of us who were attracted to Serl because of his wildly expressive, sassy, tender, and at times satirical paintings. Boldly colored images covered every surface and spilled out of several brightly painted homemade outbuildings where chickens roamed at will. He left paintings outside in the weather to see how his technique held up in the desert sun, sudden downpours, and searing heat. Serl's art, like the man,stood up well to the rigors of a life he planned and staged from his earliest years. His was a life many professed to admire but none could emulate. When Jon Serl died suddenly in the early summer of 1993 at the age of perhaps ninety-eight, a group of almost one hundred souls gathered to pay tribute to the kaleidoscopic personality we knew and loved. His longtime landlord, a man who had twenty years earlier graciously offered him the use of a house in the town of Lake Elsinore for life, free of charge, tearfully summed it up for many of Serl's friends. "Jon, you were one handful of shit and one handful of sugar!" It was exactly correct and something the artist would have enjoyed hearing. Serl thrived on contradiction and paradox. When none happened to exist, he would create some. He did precisely this in his art, and as his power as a painter and storyteller evolved from the 1950s to the early 1990s, the complexity of his personality found expression in equally compelling works of art tied to Serl's unique vision of American life past and present. In this article, I will try to provide a personal glimpse of the man and the oddly beautiful, now vanished home environment he created, and suggest how his chosen lifestyle played an important part in his remarkable paintings. Serl's truest life-work was his fiercely independent way of life. The paintings are his intellectual legacy and a body of interpretive and descriptive imagery tied to his satiric, comic vision of human nature. He described the paintings as his children and for a long time refused to sell any of them.

54 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART


THE PREGNANT VIRGIN c.1982 Oil on board 60'1 60'4" Museum of American Folk Art, gift of the artist, 1984.5.1.

Later, Serl sent paintings to exhibitions and even sold some, but steadfastly refused to cash checks derived from the sales of his art. They decorated his kitchen wall, yellowing with age, bearing dates from long ago. They were trophies of a sort, and he was proud of the ever-larger numbers inscribed on them, but he needed to work untainted by the hated world of "commerce." "I try to explain," he said, "that my whole life depends on my not cashing those checks... ever." One of the most impressive aspects of Jon Serl's character was his absolute fearlessness and his utter contempt for convention. He cherished older American values, and because of his great age he knew them firsthand. He always surprised us with his understanding of contemporary social and political issues, which arose almost entirely from his

SERL PREFERRED HIS SENSE OF WONDER TO A LITANY OF MERE FACTS own life experience. "I'm an American. I'm not a Democrat. I'm not a Republican. Neither of those seems to make any sense anymore and one is just like the other. I'm not a Socialist either. Socialism means everybody shares alike and I don't believe in it. I think everybody should get what they can. When they have enough and want to share ... that's their business. Don't expect something for nothing', and give when you can. This is what I feel is American." Serl was born into an impoverished farm family in Oleans, a small town in upstate New York. He enjoyed the company of several lively older sisters and a cherished younger brother. He grew to be tall, slender, bisexual, verbally eloquent, and something of a dissembler as he tried on several first names and different identities. To some he was Ned Searles, then Jon Seri, but for most of his adult life he went by the name of Jerry Palmer, which appears on his last California driver's license, his

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World War II military discharge papers, and communications from the Social Security Administration. As a schoolchild, he was a chronic truant. He was perennially curious and looked to the natural world as an antidote to the boring textbooks in his one-room schoolhouse. Staring out the window as a robin built her nest, Serl preferred his sense of wonder to a litany of mere facts. "I never allowed my mind, my reaction to things, to ever mature. I like the child's viewpoint. I was always discovering things other people didn't want to bother with." Serl's early experiences with abject poverty shaped his life because they provided a grounding of selfreliance and a strange perspective on American prosperity of the later twentieth-century. "At Christmas we hung up our stockings and there was never anything in them on Christmas morning. Of course, I was never good. It was hard to figure how Santa knew, year after year, that I hadn't been good. Nobody had surplus when I was a child, even rich people." For the rest

HE WAS ATTRACTIVE TO THE YOUNG BUT WAS ALTERNATELY STERN AND FORGIVING of his life, Serl counted as rich and fortunate anyone who had a warm place to sleep, clothes to wear, and a simple meal to eat. Serl traveled with his sisters though mining camps in Colorado where he learned to cook and to sing in vaudeville acts wearing a wig and affecting a feminine falsetto. Slim and elegant, he acquired the stage name Slats. His finely sculpted features were ideally suited to a life as an actor, and he drifted toward Hollywood, where he found work as a walk-on and voiceover performer under the name of Jerry Palmer. During the transition from

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silent to talking films, his beautiful voice and fine diction were in demand. Just how he acquired his extensive vocabulary and literary turn of phrase is a mystery, but he read a great deal, across a broad spectrum, without system or apparent utility. Perhaps his self-education wasjust that, an effort to furnish his mind with a panoramic view of life that would serve him in good stead as the years unfolded. While working in Hollywood, he would suddenly yearn for the outof-doors and take off for central California's migrant labor camps to pick fruit. Serl often spoke of his long acquaintance with Howard Hughes, Clark Gable, and Hedda Hopper. Extant audio tapes and personal papers support his acquaintance with Hughes and his long and devoted friendship with Hopper. In later years, while financing his unique lifestyle on a small Social Security check, Serl marveled at the quantities of useful goods available at swap meets, the Salvation Army store, and garage sales. He featured decorative items everywhere in his house, none of them new but most of them colorful, highly textured, and interesting. Christmas ornaments and garlands hung yearround. He painted over cheap prints in ready-made frames, bought odd-sized plywood boards, and even used metal and plastic signboards as flat surfaces on which to paint. In the early 1980s, long before fame found Jon Seri, a Los Angeles gallery sold one of his paintings to a representative of the J. Paul Getty Museum who gladly paid the small price to get the authentic Italian Renaissance picture frame Serl had found in some flea market and used in his art. Serl nonchalantly wore out-ofphase, decades-old fashions, bought shirts for fifty cents and recycled them, and protected himself against winter chill with layers of colorful unmatched clothes. While young peo-

ple ransacked the same sources for fashionable items, Serl had his own admirable sense of style. He was attractive to the young but was alternately stern and forgiving. He often provided shelter, food, and counsel to runaways but expected that they start to measure up to his code of independence. During the 1960s, Jon Serl set up his life in California's Del Rios Adobe, an historic property in the village of San Juan Capistrano. It was the start of his full-time dedication to painting and a period of social innovation that

brought many young people to his door. Serl often wore the cast-off robes of a Catholic priest, and many took him for an unconventional member of the clergy living just steps away from the famous mission property. He relished the happy confusion: "An actor is an actor and always, ever since I was in school,I was an actor." At first, Serl thought that a social renaissance might be happening in America."I believed in the freedom that the young people spoke about. I listened to them talk for six long years and I thought surely that America has bred a new brand of human being.

FINALE c. 1965 Oil on board 411 41 , ," Collection of Mary and Jerry Rose Photo, courtesy Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York


MOONSHINING c. 1982 Oil on wood 4" 1 60' J 60/ Museum of American Folk Art, gift of the artist, 1983.20.2

After six years I realized they never quite made it, they never did those things. They talked about living on the land but they never did. Couldn't stand taking orders, couldn't stand themselves. They were cripples in their minds and bodies. There is too much dreaming today and not enough production. If the person with the big mouth would just get out there and use his muscles. My corn patch is one stalk of corn. I feed my chickens out of that patch. By the dawn's early light." Frequent visitors to Jon Serl's home grew to understand the importance of his kitchen as well as the dangers lurking there. "As a youngster I understood that if you did the dirty work you were important. I always wanted to be important. So I learned to cook, I learned to can fruit. I learned to bake bread, pies, cakes. I learned the value of values." Reflecting upon the end of his third marriage, he said, "I was married to Janet. Her whole job was to take care of the man. I didn't need being 'took care of.' I can take care of myself. It became a real problem to find a way to get her out of my life, to get rid of her, yet not hurt her feelings." Serl's many failed relationships were ample evidence of his need to be absolutely free and alone. "No person in his right mind can ever actually be companion to Jon Serl. I know my weaknesses if they are weaknesses. Unless I can do things my way, I can never function at all." While defending his privacy, Serl reluctantly admitted that his housekeeping skills were less than ideal. "How can they tolerate coming here and sitting at my table? The dishes from last week or two weeks

ago are still on the table and the fruit on the table has long since been fruit, collecting flies. I live by letting nature take care of itself. I don't have flies very long because some spider in some corner is already laying plans on how to get it. Why do we fight the bugs? They will certainly be the last ones on earth. We could all learn from them, especially me, with my dishes from two weeks ago."

Hardship, a sense of irony, and a sense of humor were all at work in Serl's art from the very outset of his career. Wind (1966), a dramatic image remembered from his childhood, recalls the harsh winds of winter in upstate New York and family solidarity in the face of nature's raw power. In his adulthood he chose to live in an inland desert climate in California. He thrived on the hottest weather and grew groves of apricots, lemons, limes, and avocados and raised many chickens, which he prized for their eggs and their friendly company until they died of old age.

A tall, lithe couple stretching their supple bodies in The Orchard (c. 1975) move in rhythmic unison with the limbs of an apple tree in late summer. Apples were a dependable crop in upstate New York, and Serl remembered many dinners of apples and potatoes. The trees grew wild along riverbanks. Another artist might have contented himself with the lyrical beauty of this scene. Instead, Serl

inserted a third presence in the form of a gray-haired woman holding up a hand of cards. Standing outside the picture like an offstage narrator, the old woman is an allegorical figure of chance pointing out the fragile nature of human love, health, and well-being. She seems to ask,"How long will the couple enjoy their harmonious existence as they harvest the bounty of nature?" This is Serl's more complex and complete view of human life, one full of ecstasy and joy in the moment but one threatened by fate, time, and the unfaithful, willful power of human frailty.

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Why does he insist upon pointing this out to us when our own experience will surely provide similar insight? Serl's magic as a person and as an artist has to do with his true acceptance of joy, adversity, success, and disaster. Smug niceness, he reiterated time and time again,is deadening to the human spirit. Jon Serl instinctively avoided exerting power over other people and fled from anyone or anything threatening his space and freedom. He saw himself as beyond the law and relished the role of the social outsider. "I'm really a menace ... bad medicine for the setup as is. I'm out of code." Moonshining (c. 1982), a major painting on wood owned by the Mu-

seum of American Folk Art, came to the collection as an early donation by the artist. Ambitious in scale and full of carefully modulated color, it tells the story of moonshiners with an impressive setup who merrily go about their business while being watched by police. Dogs and other small creatures accompany the moonshiners while police dogs stare out from bushes in anticipation of a raid. Serl was well acquainted with the underground world of shadowy characters in his small town. They sometimes robbed his house and at other times stopped in for coffee. Through it all, Serl maintained his equanimity and his sense of humor

Jon Serl picking up his laundry from a "drying" field near his house, 1982

FINDING PLEASURE IN THE SIMPLEST OF TASKS WAS AN ART HE PRACTICED AND SHARED WITH OTHERS 58 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

and relished the drama of daily life. He often grew marijuana on his rooftop to use as a poultice for his eyes. His illegal garden was overlooked by the local police for many years and in return Serl discreetly deposited small gift-wrapped samples at the station house at Christmas. Temperance was also a cornerstone of his character. He never served or seemed to have alcoholic beverages but didn't complain if others brought them along to a party. He responded to the attractions of beautiful people but rejected anyone wanting to get too close for too long. Painting was certainly a kind of sublimation. "People say about some of my paintings, `Jerry, that's pure homosexuality!' It's an honest exposĂŠ of a person who always lived outside

the pale of niceness. Too often sex is lovely for a time but it goes sour. With the pictures, it doesn't go sour and is there forever and ever." One of the most satisfying aspects of a friendship with Jon Serl was the almost total transformation of one's image of old age and its possibilities. All of the clichĂŠs about older people vanished in his company. Vitality, strength, daring, and a sympathy with the young are indeed possible in old age and may have been common in previous generations. As Serl explained, his philosophy was a product of his upbringing in the last years of the previous century and the beginning of our own. "There is an invisible arc that goes from now to then," he said. "I'm living in the 'then.'" Finding pleasure in the simplest of tasks was an art he practiced and shared with others. One afternoon he

THE JADE MERCHANT 1985 Oil on wood 40 SO" Collection of Gary Davenport in honor of Robert Bishop Photo, courtesy Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York

WIND 1966 Oil on board 18 23" Collection of Dorothy and Leo Rabkin 5 2

3


suddenly jumped up from a conversation and said it was time to go pick up his laundry. We drove not to a laundromat but to a field full of tumbleweeds on the edge of town. There, afloat on waves of sun-dried grasses were his sheets fluttering in the warm, slow wind of summer. Watching him gather them up in his long arms and helping him to fold them into bundles brought us all into rhythm of work, the wonderful smell of the grass, the soft rush of the wind in the field. What a pleasure it would be to sleep on such sheets, despite their tattered edges. His original perspective offered moments of extraordinary wisdom: "It is good to laugh; it is good to cry. Men don't cry enough. Men should cry every morning, like they brush their teeth. They wouldn't become stiff carcasses of positiveness and deceit. They would see that some of the things they do are wrong indeed. I might try to paint it sometime ... a man brushing his teeth and squatting down and crying for a minute." If Serl observed this ritual, we did not witness it. He offered us high spirits, moments of freethinking, and great joy. Rough-hewn, gentle, and compassionate, full of mischief, harboring secrets too deep to tell, he offered what he could to hundreds of us who counted him a friend. These images and excerpts from our conversations are but fragments of a larger story whose twists and turns inform the important paintings of this unforgettable soul. Note: All quotations are taken from audiotaped conversations with the artist in Lake Elsinore, California, between July 1982 and May 1988. *

FOREIGN LADY WAVING AMERICAN FLAG 1985 Oil on cardboard 48 24" Collection of Didi and David Barrett

Susan C. Larsen taught American art historyfor many years at the university level and has created numerous art exhibitions. She is coauthor, with her husband, Lauri Robert Martin, ofPioneers in Paradise: Folk and Outsider Artist of the West Coast(The Long Beach Museum ofArt, 1984)and is a contributor to Pictured in My Mind: Contemporary American Self-Taught Art (Birmingham Museum ofArt, 1996). Dr. Larsen is the chiefcurator ofThe Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine, and the author of"Louis Monza: Passionate Protest & Hard Love"(Folk Art, Winter 1996/97).

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Mourning the Childr BY

BARBARA

ROTHERMEL

he study and interpretation of figural and symbolic representations, their intrinsic meanings, and their formation and transmission in and from one culture to another form the basis of a fundamental approach to art history. As pure forms, motifs, images, stories, and allegories become manifestations of underlying principles, they acquire symbolic value.' This use of symbols to communicate ideas has been a powerful tool in religion, mythology, and ritual throughout the history of humankind, often representing "some deep intuitive wisdom that eludes direct expression."' A symbol, as a representation of an idea, is therefore best understood within an historical, cultural, and religious framework, as the meaning of a symbol is derived through a combination of native testimony as to how the symbol is understood by members of the culture in which it is operative, and observation of how it is used in conjunction with other symbols.'In art, as in other social forms of communication, a symbol can have various meanings and be used to convey various concepts; the context in which the symbol appears is vital to its interpretation, that is, to the identification of the "deeper meaning of a representation as explicitly intended by the artist."4

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AN INTERPRETATION OF THE SYMBOLS IN TWO POSTHUMOUS PORTRAITS

It is in paintings inspired by Christian doctrine and sanctioned by the Christian church, particularly in northern Europe during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, that the universality of the unspoken language of symbols reaches its fullness.' English, Flemish, and Dutch artists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries worked within a tradition that included the use of disguised symbolism, in which objects and images of everyday life have a deeper, and often religious, meaning. Scenes that concern the stages of life, especially baptism, marriage, and death, were of particular concern, and portraits often featured symbols of death such as skeletons, hourglasses, scythes, and clocks in the background or in the subject's lap. These Old World artists are also considered to have influenced American folk artists, many of whom were either born in or had ancestral roots in northern Europe. All forms of painting, including portraits, commonly consid-

ered in the American folk art tradition can be traced to Old World predecessors and sources of inspiration.' American folk painters are, in fact, indebted to the European painters for the conventions of pose and scene and the use of"a bag of props for attributes"' such as "a sword for a military man,a fan or flower for a lady, a doll, hobby horse or other favorite toy for a child."' It is therefore reasonable to infer that they would also incorporate symbols associated with death, derived from long-standing Christian traditions still popular in Europe at the time, in posthumous mourning portraits produced between 1830 and 1860. These portraits were a means by which generations of Americans expressed their grief and kept the deceased as part of the family constellation. Posthumous mourning paintings,9 including those of children, appear at first glance to be simple portraits, often full-length, with the subject dressed in fine clothes, holding

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a personal attribute, and looking directly at the viewer. In some cases, the artist created the painting using an older portrait, a daguerreotype, or a cast relief as his model; sometimes, however, he used the corpse.'° According to art historian Phoebe Lloyd, these portraits "functioned as an icon for the bereaved; contemplating it was part of the mourning ritual. Because the artist represented the deceased as alive, a delicate pictorial balance had to be maintained between life and death. It was achieved in two ways. On the one hand, the figure of the deceased, generally life-size, was placed in his former habitual environment. On the other hand, a death symbol—sometimes disguised, sometimes easily identifiable—was normally included."" Take, for example, the mourning portraits Unidentified Child (c. 1835-1845), which has been attributed to the Prior-Hamblin School of painting and is currently in the collection of the Museum of American Folk Art, and Little Girl in Red Dress (c. 1851), in the collection of the Everhart Museum. Each of these works contains references to death and life everlasting that were unambiguous to those who commissioned the portraits, and who were generally steeped in religious doctrine and familiar with the pictorial conventions and symbolic attributes borrowed from religiously inspired and sanctioned art in the European tradition. Symbolic elements found in Unidentified Child include a departing ship in a harbor, a tree stump, ivy, and roses, all of which indicate that this is a posthumous mourning portrait. Water, used for baptism, represents purity, rebirth, and eternal life. A ship seeking safe passage to another shore symbolizes the soul in search of heaven.' The clouds behind the ship, veiling the blue sky, signify the presence of the unseen God. Trees can represent either life or death, depending on whether they are depicted as healthy and strong, as poorly nourished and withered, or as in this portrait, just a stump, suggesting a life cut down in its prime. Twining around the tree stump is ivy, an eerie vine bearing a grapelike cluster. Ivy is indicative of life after death because it clings to dead trees and continues to grow green, thus symbolizing the eternal life of the soul after the death of the body.'3 Ivy, a motif commonly used by American stonemasons for tombstones, also represented undying affection and remembrance.14 Roses, an ancient symbol of death and, in the Christian tradition, martyrdom, are strewn around the body of the child in a circular manner, much

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like a garland or wreath commonly placed on house doors as a sign of death within and a symbol of binding this world to the next. The seated child, gazing solemnly out at the viewer, wears a necklace of coral beads, a piece of jewelry commonly hung around the necks of children in the nineteenth century as a charm against evil.'5 The child holds in one hand a doll, perhaps a favorite toy, dressed mostly in black, the color of death, mourning, and sorrow. In the other hand is a shoe, no longer needed. The removal of shoes on hallowed ground is a medieval Christian representation showing humility before God. Although there exist some portraits of children known to have lived to adulthood, who are depicted with one shoe off, I believe that in this instance the removed shoe is another symbol of mourning. In the Everhart Museum's portrait, Little Girl in Red Dress, by an unidentified artist, a fan and a Catholic Catechism, showing the date 1851, lie at the subject's feet. The

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD Prior-Hamblin School Probably Maine or Massachusetts C. 1835-1845 Oil on canvas 2V/4 • 21/ 3 4" Museum of American Folk Art, gift of Robert Bishop. 1992.10.1


LITTLE GIRL IN RED DRESS Artist unknown Area unknown C. 1851 Oil on canvas 36 24" Robertson Collection, Everhart Museum, Scranton, Pennsylvania, 46.64

fan, a common attribute used in portraits of women in American folk art, is folded, suggesting to me a life snuffed out, breathing ended. The Catechism, a compendium of religious knowledge, represents wisdom and the lessons of life. In this painting, the artist paid exceptional attention to the sky in the background. The gradation of color in the sky could be interpreted as a rose-colored dawn, making the world light with the rising of the sun, indicating resurrection, eternal life, and eternal salvation, or it could be interpreted as dusk, symbolizing death and the setting of the sun at the end of life. The unknown artist of this portrait emulated those European artists who worked flower symbolism into their

compositions.'6 "The symbolic meaning of flowers, wellknown to Europeans, developed into a simple and widely accepted 'language of flowers' in America. A detailed knowledge of the floral vocabulary was an integral facet of romance and communications. Beginning in the 1830s numerous books on the language of flowers were published. These editions included poetry and botanical science, but concentrated on assigning meanings to individual flowers. Although not every flower carried symbolic meaning, the language of flowers, as manifested in all forms of art and literature, was believed to demonstrate a cultivated taste and an elevated socioeconomic status. Thus, a dictionary of flower interpretation became an important addition to the library of a lady or gentleman."7 Flowers and blossoms are universal symbols of young life, and in Christian symbolism they represent the transitory nature of earthly beauty, for true everlasting beauty is to be found only in the gardens of heaven. This belief helps explain the long-standing tradition of putting flowers on graves.'8 The downward-pointing bouquet of roses the little girl casually holds was a frequently used symbol of an innocent life cut short.'6 The bouquet also contains ivy and lilies of the valley; the latter, as one of the first flowers of the year, announces spring, the time of rebirth. The urn in the background derives from the standard formulas of both tombstone motifs and nineteenth-century memorial pictures. The flowers it holds are also associated with death: roses for death and ivy for eternal life of the soul. It also includes pansies for remembrance, violets for humility, and ferns associated with humility, because in death we are made humble before God. The vines, because of their durability and permanence, symbolize that which is stable, unchanging, eternal, and by extension, divine.213 Grief has been defined as the complex web of emotions people feel after a death. Mourning is how they express those emotions.21 Posthumous mourning portraits, in which the memory of a loved one is kept alive, are one way in which Americans of the nineteenth century dealt with grief following a death, especially the death of a child. Adults died young, and the mortality rate of infants and children was high. Death was ever-present, a heavenly reunion with loved ones was anticipated, and mourning was conspicuous. The psychological and spiritual impact of death inspired elaborate mourning customs that required equally elaborate tombs, monuments and memento mori, useful and decorative objects that reflect both death's place in the everyday life of a society and that society's attitudes toward the end of life.22 Posthumous mourning portraits helped to keep the circle unbroken, implying that separation was only temporary.23 The use of certain pictorial elements carries symbolic significance when consistently used in conjunction with other emblematic motifs. The symbols used by American folk painters were based on knowledge of the artistic traditions of their European Judeo-Christian forbears, traditions established through the consistent use of symbolic motifs and images to express abstract concepts. The symbols used in these paintings were not selected randomly for decorative purposes, but were chosen consciously to express sorrow, the hope for spiritual immortality, and a

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 03


vow to remember the deceased. The very symbols associated with death allowed families to cope with death's reality and provided a means by which to mourn the children.* Barbara Rothermel is the director of the Daura Gallery of Art, Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, Virginia, and the former curator of the Everhart Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Rothermel earned her BA. in art and cultural history from Hood College, and a Master ofLiberal Studies, museum emphasis,from the University of Oklahoma. She has written on the collection ofJohn Law and Rhetta Church Robertson at the Everhart Museum and on Florida artist Mario Sanchezfor this publication.

NOTES 1 Erwin Panofsky, Studies in konology(New York: Harper & Row, 1967), p. 8. 2 David Fontana, The Secret Language ofSymbols(San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1993), p. 8. 3 John Michael Vlach and Simon J. Bronner, eds., Folk Art and Art Worlds (Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 1992), p. 164. 4 Roelof van Straten, An Introduction to Iconography, translated from the German by Patricia de Man (Amsterdam: OPA [Amsterdam] B.V. published under license by Gordon and Breach Scientific Publishers S.A., 1994), p. 16. 5 George Ferguson, Signs & Symbols in Christian Art(New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), p. 8. 6 Elizabeth V. Warren and Stacy C. Hollander, Expressions ofa New Spirit: Highlightsfrom the Permanent Collection ofthe Museum ofAmerican Folk Art (New York: Museum of American Folk Art, 1989), p. 17. 7 Vlach and Bronner, op. cit., pp. 100-105. 8 Jean Lipman and Alice Winchester, The Flowering ofAmerican Folk Art, 1776-1876(New York: The Viking Press, 1974), p. 16.

9 In the essay "Posthumous Mourning Portraiture," Phoebe Lloyd approaches a definition of"posthumous mourning paintings" as follows:"To group such images for investigation, a new category has been created and designated here for the first time as the posthumous mourning portrait. Since the bereaved wished their dead to be restored to them as living presences, it is necessary to define these 'life' portraits as posthumous. And because families commissioned the portraits during the mourning period, the mourning function has been included in the designation." From Martha V. Pike and Janice Gray Armstrong,A Time to Mourn: Expressions ofGriefin Nineteenth Century America (Stony Brook, N.Y.: The Museums at Stony Brook, 1980), p. 71. 10 Ibid., p. 71. 11 Ibid., p. 73. 12 Fontana, op. cit., p. 112. 13 Hans Biedermann, Dictionary ofSymbolism, trans. James Hulbert(New York: Facts on File, 1992), p. 187. 14 Jones, op. cit., p. 25. 15 Mary Black,"Ammi Phillips: The Country Painter's Method," The Clarion (Winter 1986), p. 35. 16 Lloyd, op. cit., p. 75. 17 Art in Bloom: The Floral Motifin 19th Century Decorative Arts (Utica, N.Y.: Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute), 1997 18 Biedermann, op. cit., p. 135. 19 Lloyd, op. cit., p. 73. 20 Biedermann, op. cit., p. 286. 21 Jones, op. cit., p. 297. 22 Ibid., p. 22. 23 Deborah Smith, exhibition brochure for "Memory & Mourning: American Expressions of Grief"(Rochester, N.Y.: The Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum, 1993).

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FOLK

ART

BOARD OF TRUSTEES Executive Committee Ralph 0.Esmerian President Frances Sirota Martinson, Esq. Executive Vice President and Chairman, Executive Committee Lucy C. Danziger Executive Vice President Bonnie Strauss Vice President Joan M.Johnson Vice President L. John Wilkerson Treasurer Jacqueline Fowler Secretary

Anne Hill Blanchard Julie K. Palley Members Edward Lee Cave Joyce B. Cowin David L. Davies Samuel Farber Vira Hladun Goldman Susan Gutfreund

Kristina Johnson, Esq. George H. Meyer, Esq. Cyril I. Nelson Trustees Emeriti Cordelia Hamilton Herbert W. Hemphill, Jr. Margery G. Kahn Jean Lipman George F. Shaskan, Jr.

RECENT MAJOR DONORS The Museum of American Folk Art greatly appreciates the generous support of the following friends: $100,000 and above Estate of Daniel Cowin Mr.& Mrs. Joseph Cullman 3d Lucy C.& Frederick M. Danziger Ralph 0.Esmerian Sam & Betsey Farber Estate of Laura Harding Howard and Jean Lipman Foundation, Inc. The Henry Luce Foundation, Inc. Philip Morris Companies Inc. Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in conjunction with Norwegian Visions David C.& Jane Walentas Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund L. John & Barbara Wilkerson Anonymous $50,000—$99,999 The Coca-Cola Company David L. Davies & Jack Weeden General Cigar Company Johnson & Johnson Joseph Martinson Memorial Fund NYNEX Corporation Julie K.& Samuel Palley Barbara and Thomas W.Strauss Fund Anonymous 820,000449,999 Edward V. Blanchard & M. Anne Hill Burnett Group Edward Lee Cave Peter M.& Mary Ciccone Mrs. Daniel Cowin Raymond C.& Susan Egan Virginia S. Esmerian Vira Hladun Goldman Mr.& Mrs. John H. Gutfreund Joan M.& Victor L. Johnson National Endowment for the Arts Restaurant Associates Industries, Inc. The Smart Family Foundation Inc. Time Warner Robert N.& Anne Wright Wilson Two anonymous donors $10,000419,999 Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Virginia W.Cochran Country Living The Dietrich American Foundation & H. Richard Dietrich, Jr.

643 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

William B. Dietrich & William B. Dietrich Foundation Fortress Corporation Jacqueline Fowler Kristina Johnson, Esq. Mr.& Mrs. Robert E. Klein The LEF Foundation Kiyoko & Nathan Lerner Fred, Jeff,& Alan Lowenfels in honor of George F. Shaskan, Jr. The Magazine Group George H.& Kay Meyer The Pinkerton Foundation Schlumberger Foundation, Inc. Jean S. & Frederic A. Shari Fund Anonymous $4,000-0,999 American Folk Art Society ARTCORP Beard's Fund Cravath, Swaine & Moore Duane, Morris & Heckscher Gallerie 721 Gateway 2000 T. Marshall Hahn, Jr. Mr.& Mrs. Ronald S. Lauder The Joe & Emily Lowe Foundation, Inc. Eric Maffei Vincent & Anne Mai Marstrand Foundation MBNA America, N.A. Morgan Stanley Foundation New York City Department of Cultural Affairs New York State Council on the Arts The New York Times Company Foundation Leo & Dorothy Rablcin Marguerite Riordan William D. Rondina The William P. 8z Gertrude Schweitzer Foundation, Inc. Joseph E. Seagrams & Sons,Inc. George F. & Myra Shaskan, Jr. Peter J. Solomon Sotheby's Lynn Steuer Unilever United States, Inc. Anonymous $2,000—$3,999 A La Vieille Russie, Inc. ABC,Inc. Amiens Foundation, Inc. David & Didi Barrett Bergen Line, Inc. Ellen Blissman Mr.& Mrs. James A. Block

Robert & Kathy Booth Richard Braemer & Amy Finkel Edward J. & Margaret Brown John R. and Dorothy D. Caples Fund Cigna Joseph & Barbara Cohen Mr.& Mrs. Edgar M.Cullman Allan & Kendra Daniel Richard M.& Peggy Danziger Michael & Janice Doniger Nancy Drucicman Richard C. & Susan B. Ernst Foundation Scott & Lauren Fine Jay & Gail Furman Fred & Kathryn Giampietro Peter & Barbara Goodman Warren & Sue Ellen Haber Stephen M. Hill J & H Marsh & McLennan,Inc. Personal Client Services Harry Kahn Allan & Penny Katz Steven & Helen Kellogg Barbara & Dave !Crashes Jerry & Susan Lauren Mel & Wendy Lavitt Patrick M.& Gloria M. Lonergan Maine Community Foundation Michael & Gael Mendelsohn Keith & Lauren Morgan Norwegian Tourist Board John E. Oilman The Overbrook Foundation J. Randall Plummer Daniel & Susan Pollack Polo Ralph Lauren Drs. Jeffrey Pressman & Nancy Kollisch Raymond & Linda Simon Louise M.Simone Nell Singer Mr.& Mrs. Elliot K. Slade R. Scudder & Helen Smith Richard & Stephanie Solar Spaulding The Judy & Michael Steinhardt Foundation in honor of Ralph 0. Esmerian Donald & Rachel Strauber Stanley & Doris Tananbaum Jim & Judy Taylor Peter & Lynn Tishman United States Trust Company of New York Don Walters & Mary Benisek Irwin H.& Elizabeth V. Warren Peter & Leslie Warwick Anonymous

(continued on page 68)


31

WILTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY

ANTIQUES SHOW March 21 & 22,1998 Wilton High School Field House Route 7, Wilton, Connecticut

WILTON,the acclaimed venue for the most exciting antiques shows in the country, brings together more than 100 distinguished dealers offering country and high-style period furniture, American and European decorative arts,folk and fine artfor its 31st annual antiques show. Comprehensive in scope, it offers wonderful objects from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, handsomely presented and at a range of prices. It is planned to serve both advanced collectors and those beginning to acquire authentic antiques. Managed by Marilyn Gould

Early buying and continental breakfast Saturday 8:30 - 10 a.m., Admission $25

Saturday & Sunday 10 to 5 Admission $8 with ad $7 Easy to reach by major highways and Metro North R.R. to Cannondale station and only 50 miles from New York City. •5 1/2 miles north of Exit 39B Merritt Parkway •8 miles north of Exit 15,1-95 • 12 miles south of Exit3, 1-84•

Wilton Historical Society, 249 Danbury Road, Wilton, Conn.06897 203 762-7257


TRUSTEES/DONORS

MUSEUM

OF

AMERICAN

FOLK

ART

Continuedfrom page 66 $1,000—$1,999 Alconda-Owsley Foundation Marna Anderson Mr.& Mrs. James A. Block Mr.& Mrs.Thomas Block Marvin & Lois P. Broder Diana D. Brooks Lawrence & Ann Buttenwieser Carillon Importers Inc. Cirker's Moving & Storage Co., Inc. Liz Claiborne Foundation The Coach Dairy Goat Farm Katie Cochran & Michael G. Allen Conde Nast Publications Mr.& Mrs. Edgar Cullman Lewis B.& Dorothy Cullman Cullman & Kravis, Inc. Marion Dailey Mr.& Mrs. Allan Daniel Mr.& Mrs. Richard Danziger Oscar de la Renta Michael Del Castello Mr.& Mrs. Robert E. Denham Derrel B. DePasse Don & Marian DeWitt Mr.& Mrs. Charles Diker Eve Dorfzaun The Echo Design Group, Inc. Mr.& Mrs. Alvin H. Einbender Theodore & Sharon Eisenstat Epstein Philanthropies Mr.& Mrs. Anthony Evnin Fairfield Processing Corporation John Farber & Wendyll Brown Burton & Helaine Fendelman Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Geismar Mr. Howard Gilman Dr. Kurt A. Gitter & Ms. Alice Yelen Eric J. & Anne Gleacher Barbara Goldsmith Barbara L. Gordon Baron J. & Ellin Gordon Eugene M.Grant and Company Robert M.Greenberg Stanley & Marcia Greenberg Bonnie Grossman Anne Groves Mr.& Mrs. James Harithas Marion Harris & Dr. Jerry Rosenfeld Robert F. Hemphill, Jr. Ellen E. Howe Robert J. & Fern K. Hurst Sandra Jaffe Linda E. Johnson Harvey & Isobel Kahn Louise & George Kaminow Mr.& Mrs. Gerald P. Kaminsky Mr.& Mrs. Michael Kellen Diane D. Kern The Hess & Helyn Kline Foundation Robert A. Landau Mr.& Mrs. Stephen Lash Mr. & Mrs. Jerry Lauren Mark & Taryn Leavitt Diana Lee in memory of Seymour Margulies Fred Leighton Barbara S. Levinson Peter & Nadine Levy

68 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

Lynn M. Lorwin Dan W.Lufkin & Silvia Kramer Judith McGrath Christopher & Linda Mayer The Helen R.& Harold C. Mayer Foundation Robert & Meryl Meltzer Mr.& Mrs. Stanley G. Mortimer, III Cyril I. Nelson Anthony J. Petullo Guy Peyrelongue Mr.& Mrs Daniel Pollack Polo Ralph Lauren Mortimer & Eugenie Propp Mr.& Mrs. Keith Reinhard Ricco/Maresca Gallery Betty Ring Mr.& Mrs. John Robson The San Diego Foundation Charmaine & Maurice Kaplan Fund Mr.& Mrs. Marvin Schwartz H. Marshall Schwarz Stephen Score Joseph & Janet Shein Joel & Susan Simon Mr.& Mrs. Elliott Slade Sanford L. Smith George & Susan Soros Mr.& Mrs. William Stahl, Jr. David & Ellen Stein Patricia A.& Robert C. Stempel Mr.& Mrs. Jeff Tarr Cathy E. Taub & Lowell C. Freiberg Maureen Taylor David Teiger Tiffany & Company Mr.& Mrs. Peter Tishman Mr.& Mrs. Michael A. Varet G. Marc Whitehead John & Phyllis Wishnick Susan Yecies Mr.& Mrs. William Zabel Two anonymous donors S500—$999 Joe C. Adams Ted Alfond Richard C.& Ingrid Anderson R. Randolph Apgar & Allen Black James & Deborah Ash The Bachmann Foundation, Inc. Frank & June Barsalona Henry Barth Dr. & Mrs. Alex Berenstein The Bibelot Shops Peter & Lynn Bienstock Mary F. Bijur Peter & Helen Bing Seema Boesky Jeffrey & Tina Bolton Joseph & Joan Boyle Gale Meltzer Brudner Guy K. Bush Robert T. Cargo Cavin-Morris Gallery Karen D. Cohen Suzanne Cole Mr.& Mrs. Stephen H. Cooper

Judy Cowen Mr.& Mrs. Lewis Cullman Susan R. Cullman Julie S. Dale Aaron & Judy Daniels Gary Davenport Keith De Lellis Alvin & Davida Deutsch Lynne W.Doss Howard Drubner Arnold & Debbie Dunn Alfred Engelberg Mr.& Mrs. Anthony Evnin Ross & Gladys Faires Frank & Fran Frawley Ken & Brenda Fritz Galerie Heike Curtze Daniel M. Gantt Mr.& Mrs. Bruce Geismar Sima Ghadamian William L.& Mildred Gladstone Harriet & Jonathan Goldstein Howard M.Graff Marilyn A. Green Peter Greenwald & Nancy Hoffman Grey Advertising Cordelia Hamilton Robert & Elizabeth Harleman Mark & Pria Harmon Brian C.& Ellen Harris Mr.& Mrs. James Hartithas Audrey B. Heckler Herbert W. Hemphill, Jr. Robert L.& Marjorie Hirschhorn Leonard & Arlene Hochman Raymond E. Holland Carter Houck Robert J. Hurst Imperial Wallcoverings, Inc. Laura N.& Theodore J. Israel Mr.& Mrs. Thomas C. Israel Pepi & Vera Jelinek Betty W.Johnson & Douglas F. Bushnell Guy Johnson Robert J. Kahn Cathy M. Kaplan Fran Kaufman & Robert C. Rosenberg Leigh Keno Mary Kettaneh Jonathan & Jacqueline King Barbara S. Klinger Mr. & Mrs. Theodore A. Kurz Evelyn & Leonard A. Lauder Mr.& Mrs. John Levin James & Frances Lieu Mimi Livingston Monica Longworth & Michael F. Coyne Ian W. MacLean Earle & Carol Mack Richard & Gloria Manney Michael T. Martin Virginia Marx Mr.& Mrs. John A. Mayer, Jr. Grete Meilman Mr.& Mrs. Robert Meltzer Robert & Joyce Menschel

Evelyn S. Meyer Timothy & Virginia Millhiser Ira M. Millstein Mr.& Mrs. Keith Morgan Museums New York Ann & Walter Nathan Mr.& Mrs. Bernard Newman Mr.& Mrs. Bruce Newman Victor & Susan Niederhoffer Paul L.& Nancy Oppenheimer Mr.& Mrs. Richard D. Parsons David Passerman Burton W.Pearl, MD William & Terry Pelster The Perrier Group of America Mr.& Mrs. Laurence B. Pike Terry R. Pillow Mr. & Mrs. F.F. Randolph, Jr. Mr.& Mrs. Milton S. Rattner Irene Reichert John & Margaret Robson Mr.& Mrs. Peter C. Rockefeller Roger & Alyce Rose Mr. & Mrs. Martin Rosen Mr.& Mrs. Winthrop Rutherford, Jr. Selig D. Sacks Merilyn Sandin-Zarlengo Judy A. Saslow Diane H.Schafer Paul & Penelope Schindler Margaret Schmidt Richard J. & Sheila Schwartz Mrs. Stewart Seidman Mr.& Mrs. Robert Shapiro Arthur & Suzanne Shawe Mr.& Mrs. Ronald Shelp Bruce B. Shelton Cecille Barger & Myron Benit Shure Randy Siegel Mr.& Mrs. Raymond Simon John & Stephanie Smither Sotheby's Geoffrey A.& Elizabeth A. Stern Mr.& Mrs. Donald Strauber Victor & Carol Millsom Studer Myles & Roberta Tanenbaum James Adams & Ruben Teles Donald & Barbara Tober Dorothy Treisman Mr.& Mrs. Raymond S. Troubh Anne Vanderwarker Karel F. Wahrsager Clifford & Gayle Wallach Mrs. Sue Ann Weinberg Bennett & Judie Weinstock Mr.& Mrs. Roger Weiss Herbert Wells Anne G. Wesson Jane Q. Wirtz Mr.& Mrs. Tim Zagat Jon & Rebecca Zoler


TRUSTEES/DONORS

MUSEUM

OF

AMERICAN

FOLK

ART

RECENT DONORS TO THE COLLECTIONS The Hirschhorn Foundation—Robert and Marjorie Hirschhom & Carolyn Hirschhom Schenker Janet Hobbie George H. Meyer Dorothy & Leo Rabkin Maryann & Raymond Warakomski

Gifts Judith Alexander Ralph 0. Esmerian Jacqueline Fowler Abby & B.H. Friedman Joanne C. Garges

JEAN LIPMAN FELLOWS Co-Chairmen Keith & Lauren Morgan Don Walters & Mary Benisek Founding Members Marna Anderson David & Didi Barrett Patrick Bell & Edwin HiId Robert & Kathy Booth Richard Braemer & Amy Finkel Lois P. Broder Edward J. & Margaret Brown Virginia G. Cave Allan & Kendra Daniel Michael Del Castello

Michael & Janice Doniger Nancy Druckman Scott & Lauren Fine Jay & Gail Furman Wendell Garrett Fred Giampietro Peter & Barbara Goodman Barbara L. Gordon Howard M. Graff Bonnie Grossman Anne Groves Warren & Sue Ellen Haber Pepi & Vera Jelinek Linda E. Johnson Harvey Kahn

the 25th Connecticut Spring Antiques Show

Allan Katz Steven & Helen Kellogg Barbara & Dave }Crashes Jerry & Susan Lauren Patrick M.& Gloria M. Lonergan Frank Maresca Gad Mendelsohn John E. Oilman J. Randall Plummer Drs. Jeffrey Pressman & Nancy Kollisch Dorothy & Leo Rabkin Betty Ring Marguerite Riordan Stephen Score

UNIVERSITY PRESS OF MISSISSIPPI HAITIAN VODOU FLAGS BY PATRICK ARTHUR POLK glimpse into the spirit world of vodou flagmakers and their captivating creations. In full color $22.50 cloth

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Hartford March 28 & 29

VODOU THINGS

America's Most Outstanding Show of Original American Furniture to 1840 and Appropriate Accessories

STATE ARMORY, BROAD & CAPITOL A Benefit for The Haddam Historical Society

A Forbes & Turner Show Inquiries: 207-767-3967

Jean S. & Frederic A. Sharf Joseph & Janet Shein Raymond & Linda Simon R. Scudder & Helen Smith Richard & Stephanie Solar Lynn Steuer Donald & Rachel Strauber Stanley & Doris Tananbaum Jim & Judy Taylor David Teiger Sini von Reis Irwin H.& Elizabeth V. Warren Peter & Leslie Warwick G. Marc Whitehead Susan Yecies

The Art of Pierrot Barra and Marie Cassaise BY DONALD J. COSENTINO

FLYING FREE Twentieth-Century Self-Taught Art from the Collection of Ellin and Baron Gordon BY ELLIN GORDON, BARBARA R. LUCK, AND Tom PATTERSON glorious, full-color book featuring work from over seventy American folk artists. Co-published with The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. $37.50 paper

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Fantastic images of vodou spirits created from rubble, kitsch, and Catholic icons by two Haitian artists. In full color. $22.50 cloth

1-800-737-7788 Visa • MC • AmEx • Discover

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 69


SECOND ANNUAL

THE NATIONAL BLACK FINE ART SHOW JANUARY 30-FEBRUARY 1, 1998 FRI NOON-8PM • SAT11AM-8PM • SUN 11AM-7PM $10 admission • cafe • wheelchair accessible

PREVIEW JANUARY 29TH 6-9PM $45 includes catalog & one readmission

THE PUCK1:11111.11ING COURTESY MONTANETTE T. JONES GALLERY

LAFAYETTE & HOUSTON STREETS, NEW YORK CITY COURTESY HOWARD GREENBERG

LECTURE SERIES SATURDAY JANUARY 31,1998 Sponsored by The Boys & Girls Clubs of America • Ticket information: 212.351.5468

WAINWRIGHT/SMITH ASSOCIATES 212.777.5218

Fax: 212.477.6490

20TH CENTURY FOLK ART

68 EAST 7TH STREET

email: smith@freeverse.com

NEW YORK, NY 10003

www.freeverse.com/SLS/nbfas.himl

OUTSIDER

;1

GEORGIA BLIZZARD

ART BRUT

RAYMOND COINS

GALERIE SUSI BRUNNER

G.C. DEPRIE

Spitatgasse 10 • CH-8001 Zurich Tel + 411 251 23 42• Fax + 411 261 23 49

MINNIE EVANS HOWARD FINSTER VR:TOR JOSEPH GAITO

MEN

SYBIL GIBSON HOMER GREEN BESSIE HARVEY

RAYMOND COINS

CLEMENTINE HUNTER M.C.JONES

JOE LiGtiT SISTER GERTRUDE MORGAN MALCOLM MCKESSON JUSTIN MCCARTHY

NORTH SHORE GALLERY 101 FRAZIER AVENUE CHATTANOOGA, TN 37405 423.265.2760 ANGELA USREY

JIMMY LEE SUDDUTH MOSE TOLLIVER Ptawls YOUNG

70 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

WEDNESDAY - SATURDAY 11 AM - 5 PM AND BY APPOINTMENT

V. 4:* i viane 'ant. . „Al Alictio/ ie

e

Roland 'i/ 1 4s3N1

Sava net Oswald cItt Josef WittlIch 21.10.97 - 31.01.98


outsider art fair self-taught • visionary • intuitive • outsider • art brut

January 23.25 1998 friday 12-8pm saturday 11-7pm sunday 11-6pm admission $10 • cafe • wheelchair accessible

preview january

22nd

5:30-8:30pm

$50, includes 2 readmissions & catalog imititwow

festive dinner reception january

22nd

8:30pm

museum of american folk art • skylight ballroom, the puck building information & reservations: 212.977.7170

the puck building lafayette & houston streets, new york city symposium: uncommon artists VI • saturday january 24th info: 212.977.7170 SANFORD L SMITH & ASSOCIATES 68 East 7th Street, New York NY 10003 • 212.777.5218 Fax: 212.477.6490 • email: ssmithasso aol.com


MUSEUM

NEWS Abigail Lash with her parents, Benefit Chairmen Wendy and Stephen Lash, and Advisory Chairman Lucy Danziger

Fall Antiques Show Benefit ednesday, September 24, marked the Museum's 19th Opening Night Benefit Preview of Sanford L. Smith's Fall Antiques Show. Nearly 1,000 guests turned out for this annual fund-raising gala. Country Living magazine, a leader in the field of country decorating, graciously joined the Museum again as the Corporate Leader of the event. Director Gerard C. Wertkin and the Museum's Board of Trustees wish to thank Country Living for its continued support and Benefit Chairmen Wendy and Stephen Lash and Donna and Elliott Slade, and Advisory Chairman Lucy Danziger,for their unflagging efforts in making this evening a success. Sixty-eight distinguished dealers from 49 cities across the nation filled their booths with lovely and diverse objects to tempt and delight collectors of all levels and tastes. Their wares ranged from modestly priced Bakelite bracelets to a full-scale carved and painted carousel goat. One of the highlights of the show was a ten-foot-long white swan boat/decoy. While previewing the show, attendees enjoyed a lovely buffet catered by Taste and accompanied by jazz provided by a trio from The Juilliard School of Music. The Benefit Committee gratefully acknowledges the support of Country Living for their role as Corporate Leader and for providing the stunning, seasonal lobby and cafĂŠ decorations; Christie's, who generously designed and printed this year's preview invitation, featuring James Bard's beautiful painting The John L. Hasbrouck (c. 1865), a gift to the Museum from G.L.(Jack)

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72 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

Art professor Dr. David C. Driskell and Joan D. Sandler, the Museum's Director of Education and Collaborative Programs

Benefit Chairmen Donna and Elliott Slade with Museum Director Gerard C. Wertkin

Reeves, Jr.; Joseph E. Seagram & Sons,Inc., for contributing the wine and spirits; Development Associate Jennifer Waters, who coordinated the evening; and everyone who participated in this important event.

Susan Kleckner of Christie's and Fred Schroeder of Resnicow Schroeder

Museum Director Gerard C. Wertkin and Trustee Joyce B. Cowin

Dealers' Party he Museum and Country Living magazine hosted an informal cocktail reception for the Fall Antiques Show dealers on the evening of"setup day," Tuesday, September 23. Director Gerard C. Wertkin and members of the Museum's Board of Trustees and its staffjoined Country Living's editor, Rachel Newman,and her colleagues to welcome the dealers and their crews and to wish them a very successful show. The party, which was held in the Park Avenue Armory's Tiffany Room, gave us at the Museum the opportunity to thank the dealers for their contributions to the field of folk art study and for the advertising support they give Folk Art magazine.

Museum Trustee Frances Sirota Martinson with her husband, Paul Martinson

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Dealer and author Kathryn Berenson and Rachel Newman, editor in chief, Country Living magazine

Dealers Penny and Allan Katz

Left to right: Country Living's Peg Farrell, vice president and publisher; Mary Roby, managing editor; Marylou Krajci, special projects editor; and Francine Ryan, associate publisher and marketing director

Photography tt) Matt Flynn


Collectors Speak Out—and They Did s a field in the visual arts, American folk art has been shaped by collectors. It was the pioneering efforts of the first generation of collectors that wrote a highly significant chapter in the history of American culture. In conjunction with the Fall Antiques Show,the Museum presented the symposium "Collectors Speak Out" in the Tiffany Room of the Park Avenue Armory on September 25. The symposium began with breakfast at 8:30 A.M. What followed was a spirited and insightful discussion in which experts explored the joys and challenges of collecting, the thrill of the chase, and the contribution of collectors to the field of American folk art. Four subjects were covered. The first was "Fire-Related Folk Art," presented by Katharine Booth. Katharine and her husband, Dr. Robert E. Booth, are avid collectors of Shaker objects and American folk art. She serves on the board of the Canterbury Shaker Village and is a member of the American Folk Art Society. David C. Driskell spoke on "The Eye of the Collector: African American Folk Traditions." Driskell is recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on African American Art. He is Distinguished Professor of Art at the University of

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Maryland and an advisor to several major collectors of art and antiques. J.E. Jelinek talked about "American Folk Paintings and Watercolors." Dr. Jelinek is Clinical Professor of Dermatology at New York University and Chief of Service at the Skin & Cancer Unit at University Hospital in New York City. He and his wife, Vera, have been actively collecting early 19th-century American folk art for 25 years. Museum Trustee Joan M.Johnson presented "Pennsylvania German Decorative Arts." In addition to her commitments to the Museum of American Folk Art, Johnson serves on the boards of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Mercer Museum in Pennsylvania. For the last three years, she has been part of the team organizing the exhibition "From Heart to Hand: Discovering Bucks County Fraktur," which is on view at the Mercer through January 4, 1998. The Museum wishes to thank the Symposium Committee— Katharine Booth, Vera Jelinek, Anne Mai, and Julie Palley—for making this event possible. The Symposium was supported by a generous grant from Fred, Jeff, and Alan Lowenfels in honor of George F. Shaskan, Jr.

Katharine Booth, Joan M. Johnson, Dr. I.E. Jelinek, and Dr. David C. Driskell

Jack Savitsky, "Calvary", 1966 8.5 x 11.5, Colored Pencil on Paper

(1911-1992) of Lansford. Pennsylvania. started drawing as a boy when he had trouble spelling, and continued throughout his life. sketching Z2 painting on whatever was available. Savitsky worked 40 years in the Coal mines. He never left school after the 6th grade, but had an art lesson achieved fame during his lifetime by advancing his innate talent with imagination and uncommon diligence. His work has been featured in the book "20th Century Folk Art and Artists" by Herbert W. Hemphill Jr. and Julia Weissman, and is in many important Folk Art Collections. including The Museum of American Folk Art. This wonderful "Master" Folk artist produced many delightful works of art in a variety of media, which are cherished today by collectors.

"Jack"Savitsky

Tonheutt aPettte Jawtie ecutmodg Ontanationd goPi2 otht Since 1980 Milton Bond, Rita H. Davis, Mamie Deschillie, Amos Ferguson. Sybil Gibson. Haitian Masters, Nikifor, Justin McCarthy. Jack Savitsky. Lorenzo Scott. Fred Webster, Malcah Zeldis 22 others 41g cAppointotent: 914-999-9&51 gOK SI4-993-9260

10046 e01009(POCK( gt. gouts, (.)1Ao. 62124

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

73


MUSEUM

NEWS

Crib Quilt Project for Young Expectant Mothers uiltmaker Peggie L. Hartwell led a five-session crib quilt workshop, organized by the Museum's Education Department,for young expectant mothers. The workshops were held at the Museum's Eva and Morris Feld gallery, while the exhibition "Old Time Favorites, New Time Fashions: Quilt Revival 1910-1950" was on display, providing inspiration for unlimited design possibilities. Eight young women participated and most quilts were completed in five weeks; a few needed just a little finishing up. Hartwell, well known for her narrative quilts, has exhibited at many galleries and museums. One of her quilts was recently on display at the American Craft Museum here in New York. Funding for the program was provided by the Hess and Helyn Kline Foundation and the Beard's

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Discover the largest museum collection of American Folk Art prints. Colorful quilts, samplers, portraits, landscapes & stilllifes. Over 150 prints illustrated in full color catalog. SEND SIX-DOLLARS (6.00): HEDGEROW HOUSE PUBLISHING COMPANY 6401 EAST ROGERS CIRCLE•BOCA RATON, FL 33487-2647.(561)998-0756

•VEVEIVNIINVAIVINIV • • % Patricia Palermino Contemporary Folk Artist • •

Fund. Fairfield Processing, The Gazebo, Weller Fabrics, and local fabric and quilt supply retailers donated materials. HarperCollins supported the project through a generous donation of books. Janice Haynes was project coordinator and Donna Leonhart was the program docent. Pailidpaut Lily Custodio

•N •N •N •N •N

• • • •

Docent Donna Leonhart helps participant Jasmine Williams

"Pig in Paradise"

• 16 x 20 acrylic on board • • 9029 Greylock Street • Alexandria, Virginia • Phone 703 360-4757• FAX 703 360-4114 • Callfor studio appointment, artist catalog • • and gallery referral. • • •• • • ••••• Me •••••••••••••

Made[aim Gill

• • Participant Lily Custodio with instructor Peggie L. Hartwell

74 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART


HERITAGE MARKETS IN VALLEY FORGE Two locations of nationally renowned artisans

January 1998—A.G. Rizzoli n astonishing exhibition, "A.G. Rizzoli: Architect of Magnificent Visions," will be on view at the Museum of American Folk Art from Jan. 17 through March 8, 1998. Among the most intriguing art discoveries in recent years is the work of Achilles G. Rizzoli (1896-1981), a San Francisco architectural draftsman who created a unique visual language that blends architecture and text. What at first appear to be beautifully rendered and literal architectural drawings are revealed on closer view to be what the artist called "symbolizations" or "transfigurations" of people he knew, expressed in architectural terms. The drawings represent his designs for a utopian city, the Y.T.T.E., a heaven of magnificent, grandiose towers, cathedrals, and shrines. "A.G. Rizzoli: Architect of Magnificent Visions" was organized by the San Diego Museum of Art with guest curator Jo Farb

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_:\‘ \I ES DLL VFFISI:. NE DONE

January 30 January 31 February 1

noon - 10 pm. 9 am. - 9 pm. 9 am. - 6 pm.

Hilton Hotel Holiday Inn 251 W. Dekalb Pike 260 Mall Boulevard King of Prussia, PA King of Prussia, PA Open to the trade only

WALLS DEL VERSE: A.G. Rizzoli, San Francisco, 12". 1937, ink on rag paper, 21'A Collection of Kenneth W.K. Leung

Hernandez. The presentation at the Museum of American Folk Art is made possible in part by the generous support of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf. Free public programming, presented in conjunction with this exhibition, is made possible by support from The Overbrook Foundation and The Marstrand Foundation, as well as by grants from Bell Atlantic Foundation and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Upcoming Valentine's Day Program on Saturday at 2 P.M. at the Muat are you doing on seum's Eva and Morris Feld Saturday and Sunday, Gallery, Columbus Avenue, February 14 and 15? between 65th and 66th Streets, The Museum's Outreach Departand on Sunday at 4 P.M. at the ment will present its third annual Merchant's House Museum, at 29 heartwarming Valentine's Day East 4th Street. Refreshments will celebration in collaboration with be served. For information and New York City's historic Merchant's House Museum. This year reservations, call 212/475-2802 the program will be presented twice—uptown and down. "Hearts and Flowers in American Folk Art" includes a slide presentation given by Museum docent Rachel Strauber and a concert provided by musicians from New York City's Marines College of Music. It will be presented

For information & buyer registration, Contact Heritage Market, P.O. Box 389, Carlisle, PA 17013 Phone:(717) 249-9404, Fax:(717) 258-0265

VALENTINE: Artist unknown, possibly New England, c. 1820, cut and pin-pricked paper, watercolor, and gilt paper strips, 2 16", Museum of American Folk Art, promised anony/ 111 mous gift WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 75


MUSEUM

EPSTEIN/POWELL

CHIEF BLACKHAWK: Artist unknown, probably New York City, c. 1848-1855, paint on wood,80/ 1 2 19. 1 2 26/ Heritage Plantation of Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

22 Wooster St., New York, N.Y. 10013 By appointment(212)226-7316

Jesse Aaron Rex Clawson Mr. Eddy Victor Joseph Gatto (estate) Lonnie Holley S.L. Jones Lawrence Lebduska. Charlie Lucas Justin McCarthy Old Ironsides Pry Popeye Reed Max Romain Ody Saban Jack Savitsky Clarence Stringfield Mose Tolliver Chief Willey George Williams Luster Willis ... and other outsider artists (We're a short walk from The Outsider Fair)

NEWS

"The Image Business" Opens he carved wooden figures that were a common sight on the streets of urban and small-town America in the 19th century proclaimed that the stores they fronted were "open for business." The Museum of American Folk Art is indeed open for business with one of the most thrilling exhibitions in its history. "The Image Business: Shop and Cigar Store Figures in America," on view through Jan. 11, 1998, examines the origins, sources, and practice of shop figure carving in the United States. Guest curator Ralph Sessions has selected approximately 60 figures for the first comprehensive presentation of this major sculptural tradition in more than 25 years. In this exhibition, Sessions addresses several aspects of American social history, including racial and gender stereotyping, the

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emergence of a national popular culture, and the birth of modern commercial advertising. The exhibition is made possible by General Cigar Company. Additional support has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Folk Art Society, the New York State Council on the Arts, and Cigar Aficionado magazine. "The Image Business: Shop and Cigar Store Figures in America" is accompanied by a free full-color brochure.

Hawkins Exhibition n Oct. 6, the Museum held a members' reception to celebrate the opening of"William L. Hawkins," an exhibition of 35 significant paintings from Hawkins' large body of work. Organized by curator Stacy C. Hollander, the exhibition was the first New York museum retrospective of paintings by this selftaught African American artist. "Hawkins approached his imagemaking with the same sense of discovery that sculptors apply to finding an image in stone or wood," said Hollander. The opening was well attended, and Museum director Gerard C. Wertkin thanked funders Edward V. Blanchard and M. Anne Hill, Thomas K. Figge, T. Marshall Hahn,Jr., and friends

O 6962 EAST FIRST AVE SCOTTSDALE, AZ 85251

HU KACHINA THE WHIPPER C.1900 â&#x20AC;˘ 13"H

76 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

of the Museum for making the exhibition possible. A series of free lectures was presented in conjunction with the exhibition and funded in part by grants from Bell Atlantic Foundation and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. A comprehensive book of the artist's work, William Hawkins: Paintings, by Frank Maresca and Roger Ricco, and published by Alfred A. Knopf,features 139 color plates and is available by mail from the Museum shop for $45(members $40.50), with an additional charge of $5 for postage and handling. To order, please write to the Museum or call Beverly McCarthy at 212/977-7170.


,Z,Upas 117-4.4r V4riek Continuous Wire Sculpture 4 * I;4-e''',3

March 1998—An American Anthology fter many years of research and planning, the Museum of American Folk Art is delighted to announce the opening of its landmark traveling exhibition "Self-Taught Artists of the 20th Century: An American Anthology." The exhibition examines for the first time the work of self-taught artists from the entire century, presenting a powerful range of almost 300 works by 32 artists. Selected through the perspectives of guest curators Elsa Longhauser and Harald Szeemann, the exhibition provides an opportunity to see and understand important bodies of work by artists without formal art training, and considers how these artists transform ideas, memories,fantasies, and obsessions into tangible art forms. Because the artists come from a cross-section of American society, the exhibition, by its very nature, ignores boundaries and transcends divisions of class, race, gender, and culture. "Self-Taught Artists of the 20th Century: An American Anthology" will open at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on March 10, 1998; a companion exhibition will be presented at the Museum of American Folk Art in New York at the same time. The New York component will focus specifically on patterning as one aspect of"An American Anthology" and will feature nine of its artists. The touring exhibition will be on view in Philadelphia through May 17. It will then travel to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta (July 14—Sept. 20)and open in two parts at the Amon Carter Museum and The Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas

A

THIS IS OF CHICK BERMAN, 1" ENDMAN WITH WILLIAM AND WALKERS MINSTRELL SHOW IN YEARS 1916 TO 1930: Joseph Yoakum, Chicago, 1968, ballpoint pen, graphite, and 4". Collec/ 2 - 113 / colored pencil on paper, 151 tion of Jim Nutt and Gladys Nilsson

(Oct. 31, 1998—Jan. 24, 1999). The exhibition will open at the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y.(Feb. 20—April 18, 1999), the Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University in Columbus(May 15—Aug. 15, 1999), and return for its final engagement at the Museum of American Folk Art in New York on Sept. 19, 1999. To accompany the exhibition, a definitive full-color book published by Chronicle Books will be available in March 1998. The text is a compendium of many voices that represent the different ways one can consider the art. Included are major essays by Maurice Berger, Arthur Danto, and Gerald Davis. "Self-Taught Artists of the Twentieth Century: An American Anthology," organized by the Museum of American Folk Art, is presented with the generous support of the Lila Wallace— Reader's Digest Fund and The Henry Luce Foundation, Inc. Additional support for the book was provided by The DolfingerMcMahon Foundation and Jill and Sheldon M. Bonovitz of Philadelphia.

Jay Potter (212) 749-4967 220 West 98th Street, New York, NY 10025

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 77


WINTER

ART

PROGRAMS

"A.G. Rizzoli: Architect of Magnificent Visions" Lectures and Tour Museum of American Folk Art, Eva and Morris Feld Gallery, Columbus Avenue between 65th & 66th Streets, New York City

FORYOUR COMPUTER

PERFECT FOR THE HOLIDAYS! MOUSE PADS

Curatorial Lecture Jo Farb Hernandez, Curator Wednesday,January 21, 1998 6:00-7:00 P.M. Admission is free Gallery Tour Jo Farb Hernandez, Curator Sunday, January 25, 1998 10:30-11:30 A.M. Admission is free

#0314 Puss Napping George Baxter The Art Institute of Chimp,

#0318 The Bedroom

A.G. Rizzoll: Architect of Hallucinations Dr. John MacGregor,Art Historian Wednesday, February 11, 1998 7:15-8:15 P.M. For tickets, call the Folk Art Institute at 212-977-7170

$15.95

(derail)V,,, Van Gogh The Art Institute of Chicago

$15.95 123 Going to Church

LASER STATIONERY

William Johnson

$15.95

COMPUTER FONTS

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundauon

$24.95

SCREEN SAVERS

$15.95

*5024 Flowers Musaim $24.95

Winterthur

Inside Outsider Art in New York-1998 A Museum of American Folk Art Explorers' Club Day Trip Thursday, January 22, 1998 10:00 A.M.-4:00 P.M. Museum members $70.00 Non-members $85.00 Lunch included

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rlara

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0

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The trip begins at the Museum of American Folk Art, where coffee and pastries will be served,followed by a guided tour of the exhibition "A.G. Rizzoli: Architect of Magnificent Visions." The group will visit two private collections of outsider art and have lunch at a Manhattan restaurant.

manticore products, inc.

call 1.800.782.2645 to order or to receive a new catalog or visit our website: www.manticore.com ADIO

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78 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

Welcome Dr. Judith Weissman Director ofFolk Art Studies, Associate Professor ofArt, New York University Greetings Gerard C. Wertkin Director, Museum ofAmerican Folk Art

The Museum's free public programming Grandma Moses: is fwided in part by grants from Bell Where Does She Fit? Atlantic Foundation and the New York Jane Kallir City Department of Cultural Affairs. Director, Galerie St. Etienne, For information, call the Museum at New York 212/595-9533.

OF601 honk Lloyd Wrtght®

Edward Munch

Saturday, January 24, 1998 2:00-4:00 P.M. New York University 34 Stuyvesant Street Barney Building, Room 105 New York City Museum members $30.00 Non-members $35.00

Introduction These presentations are made possible Lee Kogan by support from The Overbrook Foun- Director ofthe Folk Art Institute, dation and The Marstrand Foundation. Museum ofAmerican Folk Art

FRA/IK LLOYD WRIGHT

#L507 1,&,,#,,,

Uncommon Artists VI: A Series of Cameo Talks A symposium presented by the Museum of American Folk Art and New York University

Motor coach transportation, continental breakfast, and lunch are included in the tour cost. Enrollment is limited. For reservations, call the membership office at 212/977-7170.

Chris Hipkiss Richard Klein Assistant Director, The Aldrich Museum ofContemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut James Castle John Oilman Director, Fleisher/Oilman Gallery, Philadelphia Nek Chand John Maizels Editor, Raw Vision magazine The 1997/98 Symposium Series is supported by a generous grant from Fred, Jeff, and Alan Lowenfels in honor of George F. Shaskan, Jr. For information, call the Folk Art Institute at 212/977-7170.


MUSEUM

REPRODUCTIONS

PROGRAM American Pacific Enterprises

ALICE J. HOFFMAN

•4As

MUSEUM OF AMERICAN FOLK ART COLLECTION

Representing over 300 years ofAmerican design,from the late 1600s to the present, the Museum ofAmerican Folk Art CollectionTM brings within reach ofthe public the very best ofthe past to be enjoyedfor generations to come. New Directions The Museum welcomes its newest licensee: * Graphique de France As a recognized leading publisher of fine art, photography, and contemporary notecards and postcards, Graphique de France will introduce boxed and single note cards featuring Museum designs in 1998. News from Museum Licensees Share our legacy; look for new products from our family of licensees,featuring unique designs inspired by the Museum's collections.

*Enesco Corporation Season's Greetings! Don't delay, you still have time to complete your 1997 Museum Holiday Collection of music boxes, tree ornaments, manc.• tel accessories, and collectible • cloth fig• ; ° ures. *4i*t• : :•

_

Manticore Products, Inc.

* American Pacific Enterprises Winter Warmth! Variations of Barn Raising and Tumbling Blocks, two new interpretations of designs from the Museum's collection of quilts, will soon be available in the Museum's easyto-care-for bedcover series. *Manticore Products,Inc. Today, almost 100 years since cigar smoking reached its peak in America, the cigar is experiencing a renaissance. The Art of the Cigar Label screensaver, featuring the Museum's Kane-Greenberg Collection, is now on sale. 25 images are available for display while your computer is idle. Choose your favorites and change the image as often as you like. A collage of 19 images from this collection is available as a mousepad, a perfect complement to the screensaver.

*Takashimaya Company,Ltd. Happy Anniversary! Throughout 1998, the Museum and Takashimaya will celebrate 15 years of an enduring partnership. Special events in Japan have been planned for this celebration. Highlights will appear in upcoming columns. Dear Customer Your purchase of Museumlicensed products directly benefits the exhibition and educational activities of the Museum. Thank you for participating in the Museum's continuing efforts to celebrate the style, craft, and tradition of American folk art. If you have any questions or comments regarding the Museum of American Folk Art Collection,TM please contact us at 212/977-7170.

Enesco Corporation

Family of Licensees Abbeville Press(212/888-1969)gift wrap, book/gift tags, and quilt note cube.* American Pacific Enterprises(415/782-1250) quilts, shams,and pillows. Andrews & McMeel(816/932-6700)traditional folk art songbook.* Carvin Folk Art Designs,Inc. (212/755-6474)gold-plated and enameled jewelry.* Concord Miniatures(800/8880936) 1"-scale furniture and accessories.* Danforth Pewterers, Ltd.(800/222-3142) pewter jewelry and accessories, buttons, ornaments, keyrings.* Dynasty Dolls(800/7364438)collectible porcelain dolls.* The Echo Design Group,Inc.(212/686-8771)scarves.* Enesco Corporation (800/436-3726)decorative home giftware collection.* Graphique de France (800/444-1464)stationery.* Hermitage des Artistes(212/243-1007)tramp art objects.* Imperial Wallcoverings,Inc. (216/464-3700) wallpaper and borders. James Hastrich (800/962-2932) miniature painted furniture reproductions in limited editions.* The Lane Company,Inc., including

Lane/Venture and Lane Upholstery (804/3695641)furniture (case goods, wicker, and upholstered furniture)and mini-chests. Limited Addition (800/268-9724)decorative accessories.* Manticore Products,Inc.(312/5959800)screensavers and mousepads.* Mary Myers Studio (800/829-9603) nutcrackers.* Sullins House(219/495-2252) peg-hook wall plaques; gift, desk, and vanity boxes; decorative mirrors, and fire and dummy boards.* Syratech Corporation (617/561-2200) holiday and decorative home accessories. Takashimaya Company,Ltd.(212/3500550) home furnishings accessories(available only in Japan). Tyndale,Inc.(773/384-0800) lighting and lampshades. Wild Apple Graphics, Ltd.(800/756-8359)fine art reproduction prints and posters.* XPress,Inc.(800/3340426) mugs. *Available in Museum of American Folk Art Book and Gift Shops. For mail-order information, contact Beverly McCarthy at 212/977-7170.

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 79


TRAVELING

EXHIBITIONS

Mark your calendars for the following Museum of American Folk Art exhibitions when they travel to your area during the coming months:

Here, Kitty Kitty Kitty Debbie Perry

"Black Cat"

Kentucky Folk Art Center 102 West First Street Morehead, KY 40351 606.783.2204 Fax(606)783-5034

October 11—December 31, 1997 Quilts from America's Flower Garden Putnam Museum of History and Natural Sciences Davenport, Iowa 319/324-1064

March 10—May 17, 1998 Self-Taught Artists of the 20th Century: An American Anthology Philadelphia Museum of Art Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 215/763-8100

January 16—March 15, 1998 Quilts Fantastic New York State Museum Albany, New York 518/474-5877

July 14—October 20, 1998 Self-Taught Artists of the 20th Century: An American Anthology High Museum of Art Atlanta, Georgia 404/733-4400

February 18—April 12, 1998 The Image Business: Shop and Cigar Store Figures in America The Baltimore Museum of Art Baltimore, Maryland 410/396-4930

For further information, please contact Judith Gluck Steinberg, Coordinator of Traveling Exhibitions, Museum of American Folk Art, Administrative Offices,61 West 62nd Street, New York, New York 10023,212/977-7170.

New Castle and Winterthur nOct. 7 and 8, 1997, a group of Museum members visited Delaware on a Folk Art Explorers' Club tour that included the Winterthtfr Museum and Garden and the historic town of New Castle. New Castle is a Colonial town, with many buildings dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. Members spent an afternoon visiting some of these historic homes, including the Read . House, the Terry House, and the Amstel House. Museum members Mike Moskovis and Dorothy Selinger hosted an evening cocktail reception in their lovely early 19th-century home, which contains part of their impressive collection of antiques and American folk art.

O

WHoLL\/ \)ip\f-ir\ oua MAckEREL (ke5f

rui,\15

668 Main Street Box #107 Mahone Bay Nova Scotia Canada B0J2E0 Phone: 902.624.1288 E-mail: whomaceauracom.com

80 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

The second day of the tour was spent at the Winterthur Museum, home to Henry Francis du Pont's comprehensive collection of early American decorative arts displayed in period room settings. The group was treated to a special tour focusing on the folk art in the Museum's collection before enjoying a private group luncheon. On behalf of the Museum, Beth Bergin and Chris Cappiello of the membership office would like to extend special thanks to Mike Moskovis and Dorothy Selinger for their hospitality, and for the time and effort spent in planning much of the successful tour program.


SLOTIN FOLK ART AUCTIONS Two Sessions Folk EroticAuction & 20th Century Folk Art & Anonymous Works Auction Includes Major Works By: Howard Finster Bill Traylor Joseph Yoakum Miles Carpenter S.L.Jones Uncle Jack Dey Sister Gertrude Morgan Clementine Hunter Mose Tolliver Jimmy Lee Sudduth Lanier Meaders Burlon Craig Henry Speller J.B. Murry Jack Savitsky Lawrence Lebduska B.F. Perkins Minnie Evans James Harold Jennings Josephus Farmer Thornton Dial Mattie Lou O'Kelley Victor Gatto Anonymous Works & Much,Much,More...

When: March 14,1998 Saturday 11:00am

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Catalog $25: Fully-Illustrated Many Color Photos Available Feb.14,1998 Phone & Fax Bids Accepted

Make checks payable to: Slotin Folk Art Auction 5967 Blackberry Ln. Buford,Georgia 30518 770 932-1000 Fax 770 932-0506 Email Slotin@netdepot.com www.selftaught.com


KRISTIN NELSON TINKER Announcing the publication of

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OUT OF MY MIND

P.O. Box 1312 (540) 956-3669 Ridgeway, VA 24148

An autobiography in words and paintings

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Kristin Nelson Tinker is represented by Frank J. Miele Gallery, 1086 Madison Ave. New York, New York 10028 (212) 249-7250 Ernie Wolfe Gallery, 1653 Sawtelle Blvd. Los Angeles, California 90025 (310) 473-1645 Maurice Hansen

82 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART


Baltimore Folk & Visionary Art Show 7A May 15,16,17,1998AWhen:

Where:

Friday,May 15 AVAM Benefit & Show Opening 5-10pm $25

Baltimore, Maryland

Saturday,May 16 10am-7pm $6 AVAM Symposium 1:30-3:00pm Sunday,May 17 10am-5pm $6 AVAM Symposium

1:30-3:00pm

Baltimore's Inner Harbor 801 Key Highway Located Directly Across from the American Visionary Art Museum

Opening Night Benefits the American Visionary Art Museum

Plus Much More!7;r7;r7:1-7-Come See the Opening

Error & Eros: Love Profane & Divine AVAM's all new Exhibition Curated by Maggie and John Maizels,the founders of Raw Vision Opens May 15,1998 - AVAM Info: 410 244-1900

The Baltimore Folk & Visionary Art Show is produced by Folk Fest,Inc. 06 5967 Blackberry Ln. Buford,Georgia 30518 • 770 932-1000 • fax:770 932-05 m ght.co lf-tau email:slotin@netdepot.com • www.se


CONTEMPORARY FOLK ART BRUCE

SHELTON

KATHY MOSES, GALLERY DIRECTOR

SHELTON GALLERY

FRAME STANFORD SQUARE 4239 HARDING ROAD NASHVILLE, TN 37205

(615) 298-9935 Call to see when we are in your area

Sandstone Angels by Tim Lewis

We make house calls.

"MOTHER"

24" x 12" o/c

CYRIL BILLIOT SAINTE-JAMES BOUDROT ARTIST CHUCKIE BURGESS DULANEY GLASSMAN REV. J. L HUNTER M.C. 5( JONES CHARLEY KINNEY

MATT ยงESOW BEVERLY KAYE WOODBRIDGE,CT

84 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

MINNIE ADKINS LINVEL BARKER RONALD COOPER C.C. DEPRIE THORNTON DIAL ROY FERDINAND DENZIL GOODPASTER HOMER GREEN HELEN LAFRANCE JUNIOR LEWIS TIM LEWIS JESSE MITCHELL BRAXTON PONDER DOW PUGH ROYAL ROBERTSON SULTON ROGERS JIMMY LEE SUDDUTH OLIVIA THOMASON MOSE TOLLIVER TROY WEBB BETTYE WILLIAMS BOBBY WILLIFORD WESLEY WILLIS AND OTHERS

203.387.5700 by appointment

R. A. MILLER REGINALD MITCHELL

ROYAL ROBERTSON SULTAN ROGERS BERNICE SIMS ISAAC SMITH MARY T. SMITH LAMAR SORRENTO JIMMY LEE SUDDUTH MOST TOLLIVER PURVIS YOUNG AND MORE

CONCRETE HEAD BY BURGESS DULANEY


the source for what's new in today's quilts...

kT/QUiij Magazine

CRAIG FARROW Cabinetmaker

the quilts, the artists, the shows, the issues, the reviews...

the Art of the Quilt.

Special for Folk Art readers: 1 year(4 quarterly issues) for $28. Sample copy $7($10US overseas) Subscribe for great quilts in great color reproductions plus informative articles on what's new ***JAT/Qp./3- ilook Serrice*** Nancy Crow at the Renwick color poster(shown above)$8 pp Exhibit catalog: Nancy Crow Improvisational Quilts $21.95 pp *** Send SASE for our list of books and goodies.*** To subscribe, send check for $28 ($38US for overseas) to:

ItT/QUILT Magazine Folk Art Offer PO Box 630927 / Houston,TX 77263-0927 / fax 713/975-6072 (MC/Visa accepted)

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ROCKY 44 MOUNTAIN 44 44 QUILTS 350+ Antique Quilts 1750-1940

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1-800-762-5940 Call for winter hours • Exhibiting in NYC at Stella's Pier Show Jan. 17/18 1998 •

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18th-century spoon rack

History and Artistry in Wood 17th and 18th Century American Furniture Reproductions P.O. Box 828 Woodbury, CT 06798

Please call 203-266-0276

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK AR I 85


It's more than just another credit card it's a contribution.

Southern Vision's Pottery and Folk Art PO Box 526 • Seagrove, NC 27341 (910)381-3090 Lainer Meaders • Reggie Meaders • Louis Brown Terry King • Davis Brown • Hewell Family

MUSEUM OF AMERICAN FOLKART FVA AND MORRIS FELD GA LLIRY AT 'IRWIN SQUARE

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Now you can help raise money for the Museum of American Folk Art simply by making a purchase with your No-Annual-Fee Museum of American Folk Art Gold MasterCard! Every time you make a purchase with your No-AnnualFee Museum of American Folk Art Gold MasterCard, MBNA America® Bank, the card's issuer, makes a contribution to support the Museum of American Folk Art. Your No-Annual-Fee Museum of American Folk Art card also benefits you in a big way with credit lines up to $50,000 and up to $500,000 Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance on charged fares.* The Museum of American Folk Art card features ... • No Annual Fee! • Additional cards at no cost for family members or associates. • Worldwide acceptance at millions of locations. • A bank that is always available, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Best of all, it's backed by a 24-hour commitment to Customer Satisfaction that has made MBNA one of the leading issuers of bank credit cards.

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Call 1-800-847-7378 TTY users, call: 1-800-833-6262 Please mention priority code FDNI when you call. There are costs associated with the use of this card. You may contact the issuer and administrator of this program, MBNA America' Bank, to request specific information about the costs by calling 1-800-847-7378 or writing to P.O. Box 15020, Wilmington, DE 19850. 'Certain restrictions apply to this benefit and others described in the benefits brochures sent soon after your account is opened. MBNA and MBNA America are federally registered service marks of MBNA America Bank, N.A. MasterCard is a federally registered service mark of MasterCard International Inc., used pursuant to license. © 1997 MBNA America Bank, NA. ADG-H-5 ADG-8-4-97 ADG-QAAB-8/97

86 WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

C.J. and Billy Meaders • Nub Meaders

E.J. Brown • Anna King Crystal King • B.B. Craig Specializing in

Southern Folk Art, Pottery Ifyou want it, we canfind it!

From Sharon Johnson

to America

THANK YOU! Graves Country gave you

Sharon Johnson in 1997 and Hankie Scarborough in 1996

Graves Country Gallery

Antiques

15 N. Cherokee Lane • Lodi, CA 95240 Open Friday and Saturday or by appointment. Call(209) 368-5740 or(209) 473-7089


Aft

Fogat Aft Ali 210 • ir*- @ W d...L4e5 FOL THE DOOR TO THE JNVOSOBLI • JANUARY 19-28 1998 opening reception Saturday January 24 8PM = meet the artists Sunday January 25 1PM (on view during The NYC Outsider Art Fair)

Gerard Sendrey,"Pe

nage" ink/acrylic ,32 x24 cm,1995

Atelier Herenplaats Mimer Foundation Ali Belardinelli Beining Benedetto Brodar Demise-Smith Dingemans Gellman GKP Morse Moses Pierce Postic Saban Sendrey Sheldon Talpazan Wakeford

"THE DOOR TO THE ji-WISH31E"

Chuck Levitan Gallery Space I 42 Grand St.(off W. Broadway) NYC ph/fax (212) 966-2782 around the corner from Soho Grand Hotel)

Ad Maas, pencil drawing, q'

1

199f,

"PORTRAITS OF GOD" by Ad Maas

A Gallery @ Wares For Art 496 LaGuardia Place (off Houston St.) NYC (212)598-4278 • fax (212) 627-1797

CONTEMPORARY FOLK ART FROM THE DEEP SOUTH ANTON HAARDT GALLERY MONTGOMERY,ALABAMA (334)263-5494 • NEW ORLEANS ANNEX (504)897-1172 Mose Tolliver photograph by Anton Haardt

WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART 87


MAIN STREET ANTIQUES and ART Colleen and Louis Picek Folk Art and Country Anzericana (319) 643-2065 110 West Main, Box 340 West Branch, Iowa 52358 On Interstate 80

Two old Minnesota Indian-made horse carvings in great old paint.

Send a self-addressed stamped envelope for our monthly Folk-Art and Americana price list

INDEX

TO

ADVERTISERS

Harry N. Abrams,Inc. 82 Lyman Allyn Art Museum 38 American Folk 37 American Pie 28 American Primitive Gallery 10 The Ames Gallery 8 Art/Quilt Magazine 85 Axtell Antiques 64 The Chris Butler Group 82 Robert Cargo Folk Art Gallery 35 Cavanaugh & Blue 2 Cavin-Morris Gallery 21 Christie's 17 Country Living Inside Back Cover Epstein/Powell 76 Craig Farrow 85 Ferfanes 65 Laura Fisher 33 Fleisher/Oilman Gallery 3 Forbes & Turner 69 Galerie Bonheur 73 Galerie Susi Brunner 70 A Gallery @ Wares for Art 87 Gallery 121 Henry Inc. 27 Sidney Gecker 34 Giampietro Back Cover Gilley's Gallery 22

BS WINTER 1997/98 FOLK ART

Graves Country Gallery & Antiques Anton Haardt Gallery Haiti Images Carl Hammer Gallery Hedgerow House Heritage Market Samuel Herrup Antiques John C. Hill Hirschl & Adler Modern Hustontown K.S. Art Allan Katz Americana Beverly Kaye Kentucky Folk Art Center Knoke Galleries John Michael Kohler Arts Center Chuck Levitan Gallery Space MBNA America Main Street Antiques and Art Manticore Products, Inc. Frank J. Miele Gallery Steve Miller The Modern Primitive Gallery Museum Charlotte Zander Leslie Muth Gallery North Shore Gallery Susan E. Oostdyk Antiques

86 87 65 11, 13 74 75 16 76 14 26 23 7 84 80 22 37 87 86 88 78 29 25 32 30 70 64

Patricia Palennino 74 The Pardee Collection 20 William Peltier 24 Jay Potter 77 Ricco/Maresca Gallery Inside Front Cover,9, 13 Rocky Mountain Quilts 85 Rosehips Gallery 31 Stella Rubin 34 Judy A. Saslow Gallery 65 Shelton Gallery and Frame 84 John Sideli 4 Steve Slotin 81,83 Sanford L. Smith & Associates 71 Sotheby's 38 Southern Folk Art Picker 82 Southern Vision's 86 Sweet Liberty 26 Thompson & Westerman 20 University Press of Mississippi 69 Wainwright/Smith Associates 70 Marcia Weber/Art Objects 12 Wholly Mackerel 80 Wilton Historical Society 67 Yard Dog 84 Ginger Young Gallery 24


Cy untry Living

America's

Source

for

Folk

Art

and

Antiques

A PUBLICATION OF HEARST MAGAZINES. A DIVISION OF THE HEARST CORPORATION.


Pkr

WV ,

TATTOO FLASH JAN. 20 • FEB. 27

25 E 73 ST NYC 1 0 0 2 1 212.861.8571 www.giampietro.com

Folk Art (Winter 1997/1998)  

The Gatekeepers of Culture: On Presenting the Works of African American Self-Taught Artists • Mattie Lou O’Kelley: Reflections on the Artist...