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Martin Ramirez Untitled (Vertical Tunnel with Train) c. 1960-63 Mixed media on paper 32 x 26 inches, 81 x 66 cm CI Estate of



Fully illustrated book available: Martin Ramirez: The Last Works Ricco/Maresca Gallery is the exclusive representative of the Estate of Martin Ramirez.

212 627 4819 P 212 627 7191 F RICCOMARESCA.COM



Patrick Bell / Edwin HiId P.O. Box 718, New Hope, PA 18938-0718 By Appointment 215-297-0200, Fax: 215-297-0300 Email: Visit us on line at:

A Pennsylvania-German Masterpiece Att. to Samuel Gottschall (1808-1898), Salford Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania c.1835, Watercolor, gouache and ink on wove paper, H 12 Y2" x W 8", Exceptional condition We are pleased to be exhibiting at the 55th Annual Winter Antiques Show at the Park Avenue Armory, January 22 - February 1.

MANIC() American Folk Art Quality American Folk Art for over 30 years

"I'm not trying to cause a big sensation, I'm just talking 'bout my generation." -The Who left to right) Kate Man.ko idealer Es7 collector), Aidan Callan child star\ Ryan Herd triusic producer\ David Norton professor\ Kristi Callan .makeup artist).

Ken, Ida Kate Manko, Proprietors 24371 646-2595 Visit our barn gallery in Moody. Maine .located 1/2 way between Ogunquit or our website:



Antiques, L.L.C.

at Oley Forge

George R. Allen • Gordon L. wckoft PO box 276, 208 Spangsville Road 019,PA1954-7 Phone:(610) 689-2200 mail: Website:

19'11 C Indian Clubs, Scenic Painted Hudson Vall9, NY witli Sand Finish Embellishments.











erica?) I ?6. 1930s I carved gnnite . 12-3/4 h x w x 5 VI d 14 1/2 h x9 1/8 wic.5 3/1 d with base

Provenance available Please visit our three-story gallery to view our extensive collection of American Furniture, Paintings, Folk Art and Decorative Accessories Located "On the Green" in Litchfield, Connecticut 39 West Street, Box 1609, Litchfield, Connecticut 06759 Tel: 860.567.9693 Fax: 860.567.8526 email: Monday, Wednesday thru Saturday 10:30 AM - 5:00 PM, Sunday 11 AM - 4:30 PM



s•a• wt,rN At*, 141e Foi tas. fr.;

Outstanding Pennsylvania Sampler by Sarah Brelsford, 1827. Philadelphia or Bucks County. Sampler size: 17.25 by 24.5 inches.

est. 1947

M.Finkel0Daughter. 936 Pine Street• Philadelphia, PA 19107• tel: 215-627-7797 • fax: 215-627-8199 •

Yoce/izY-":10ff works of art

Important Nautical Shop Figure of a Jack Tar (Sailor) with an Octant Carved and painted wood, full size with the original marble-painted wood base. English, ca. 1850. Attributed to the Newcastle carver Thomas Hall Tweedy. Originally from the shop of nautical instrument maker and dealer John Gail, Newcastle-on-Tyne. Excellent condition, retaining most of the original painted surface except for minor chips and paint losses. The painted surface of the face and hands is old but of a later date. Height of figure: 5' 6" Overall height with stand: 6' 6" / 2" w Stand: 19" h x 171 Provenance: New England museum, private collection.

Peter Tillou Works ofArt 109 Prospect Street, Litchfield, CT 06759 + Tel: 860.567.5706 Sanibel Island, FL 33957 + Tel: 239.472.6794 + Established 1953 By chance or appointment suggested



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S-I8, Mother into Stone Proemshayed,The Kathredal, 1939, ink on rag paper,58.25 x 34.25 inch

Works by contemporary, visionary, self-taught and outsider



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Y-09, The Y.T T.E. Plot Plan—Fifth Preliminary Study, 1939, ink on rag paper,47 x 29 inch


including Eddie Arning, Julio Garcia,

Ted Gordon, Harry Lieberman, Dwight Mackintosh, Alex Maldonado, A.G. Rizzoli, Jon Serl, Barry Simons, and others. Early handmade Americana including canes, tramp art, tintypes and vintage photos. Bonnie Grossman, Director

2661 Cedar St., Berkeley, California 94708





Martin Ramirez The Last Works

Ft_ 160 pages,9 x 12 in., plus 2 gatefold pages. 136 full-color illustrations; Smyth-sew casebound, with jacket. Essays by Brooke Davis Anderson, Richard Rodriguez, and Wayne Thiebaud. Foreword by the family of Martin Ramirez. Presented in English and Spanish. Images 02008 Estate of Martin Ramirez Published by Pomegranate Communications $39.95 US ($43.95 Canada) ISBN 978-0-7649-4695-0



FOLK ART WORKS OF ART ANTIQUES Fred Giampietro 203.787.3851 1531 / 2 Bradley Street New Haven, CT 06511 Bird House carved and painted wood and metal Illinois, circa 1910. H 191 / 2 inches

fifty dollars



Martin Ramirez:The Last Works


Brooke DavisAnderson

The Cosmic Visions of Ed Nelson


Peter Hastings Falk

Finding the Other Henry Gudgell Walking Stick: An Odyssey


Allan Weiss


Cover: UNTITLED (Riding Forward and Back)(detail), Martin Ramirez, C. 1960-1963, private collection,(D Estate of Martin Ramirez, photo by Ellen McDermott (see pages 38-39)






Museum Information


Books ofInterest


Editor's Column


Museum News


Executive Director's Letter




The Collection: A Closer Look






Index to Advertisers


=111 Folk Art is published annually by the American Folk Art Museum.The museum's administrative office mailing address is 49 East 52nd Street,New York,NY 10022-5905,TeL 212/9777170,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 0 73 are mailed to all members. Single copy $10.00. Published and copyright 2008 by American Folk An Museum,45 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019-5401.The cover and contents --I um= ofFolk 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 ofthe American Folk Art Museum.Unsolicited manuscripts or photographs should be accompanied by return postage. Folk Art assumes no responsibility for the loss or damage ofsuch materials. Change ofaddress: Please send both old and new addresses to the museum's membership department at 49 East 52nd Street,New York, NY 10022-5905,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 ofobjects or quality ofservices 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 ofobjects or services advertised in its pages.The museum is dedicated to the exhibition and interpretation offolk art, and it is a violation ofits principles to be involved in or to appear to be involved in the sale ofworks ofart. For this reason,the museum will not knowingly accept advertisements for Folk Artthat illustrate or describe objects that have been exhibited at the museum within one year ofplacing an advertisement.The publisher reserves the right to exclude any advertisement.


FOLK ART Tanya Heinrich Editor and Publisher Mareike Grover Managing Editor


AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM Maria Ann Conelli Executive Director

Executive Committee Laura Parsons President/Chair ofthe Executive Committee

Linda Dunne Deputy Director/ChiefAdministrative Officer

Barry D.Briskin Vice President

Benjamin J. Boyington Copy Editor Eleanor Garlow Advertising Sales

The Magazine Group,Inc. Jeffrey Kibler Design Mary Mieszczanslci Project Manager Denise Butler Production Artist Tommy Dingus Advertising Traffic Coordinator

Publishers Press Printer

MUSEUM ADDRESS 45 West 53rd Street New York, NY 10019-5401 212/265-1040 ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES 49 East 52nd Street New York, NY 10022-5905 212/977-7170, Fax 212/977-8134 BOOK AND GIFT SHOP 45 West 53rd Street New York, NY 10019-5401 212/265-1040,ext. 124 STAFF Assistant to the Director yMuseum Shops: Sandy B.Yun Shop Managers:Dorothy Gargiulo, Louise B. Sheets, Marion Whitley Book Buyer:Evelyn R. Gurney Staffi Emi Brady, Andrea Gilkey, Hiromi ICiyama Website Shop Page Manager: Sylvia Parker

BRANCH LOCATION/BRANCH SHOP 2 Lincoln Square (Columbus Avenue at 66th Street) New York, NY 10023-6214 212/595-9533 STAFF Gallery Manager.Mary Anne Caton Weekend Gallery Manager..Ursula Morillo Security: Kenneth R. Bing,Bienvenido Medina

Lucy Cullman Danziger Vice President

ADMINISTRATION & FINANCE Robin A. Schlingcr ChiefFinancial Officer

DEVELOPMENT Christine Corcoran Associate Director ofIndividual Giving

Susan Conlon Assistant to the Executive Director

Katie Hush Associate Director ofSpecial Events

Madhukar Balsara Assistant Controller

Elizabeth Brown-Inz Membership Manager

Angela Lam Accountant

Carly Goettel Development Coordinator

Irene ICreny Accounts Payable Associate

Ethan Gould Membership and Special Events Assistant

Danelsi De La Cruz Accounting Assistant/Membership Assistant

Wendy Barreto-Greif Membership Clerk

ICatya Ullmann Administrative Assistant/Reception

EDUCATION Sara Lasser Associate Director ofEducation

COLLECTIONS & EXHIBITIONS Stacy C. Hollander Senior Curator/Director ofExhibitions

Jennifer Kalter Manager ofSchooland Famit5,Programs

Brooke Davis Anderson Director and Curator ofThe Contemporary Center and the Henry Darger Study Center

Lee Kogan Curator ofPublic Programs and Special Exhibitions

Members Didi Barrett Lawrence B. Benenson Stephen Corelli David L Davies Jacqueline Fowler Patricia Geoghegan Robert L. Hirschhorn ICristina Johnson Andrew McElwee Ronald K.Shelp Bonnie Strauss Richard H.Walker L.John Wilkerson

Ann-Marie Reilly ChiefRegistrar/Director ofExhibition Production

FACILITIES Michael O'Shea Director ofOperations

Trustees Emeriti Ralph 0.Esmerian Chairman Emeritus

DEPARTMENTS Susan Flamm Public Relations Director

Daniel Rodriguez Office Services Coordinator

Marie S. DiManno Director ofMuseum Shops

PUBLICATIONS Tanya Heinrich Director ofPublications

Joseph F. Cullman 3rd (1912-2004) Samuel Farber Cordelia Hamilton Frances Sirota Martinson Cyril I. Nelson (1927-2005) George F. Shaslcan Jr.

Mareilce Grover Managing Editor

Gerard C.Wertkin Director Emeritus

Richard Ho Manager ofIriformation Technology

Edward V. Blanchard Jr. Treasurer Taryn Gottlieb Leavitt Secretary Joyce B. Cowin R.Webber Hudson Joan M.Johnson Robert I. Kleinberg Selig D. Sacks Elizabeth V. Warren

Mary Anne Caton Gallery Manager, Lincoln Square Branch Location Alexis Davis Manager of Visitor Services Rachel Rosen Visitor Services Assistant Courtney Wagner Manager ofPhotographic Services Jane Lattes Director of Volunteer Services Caroline Kerrigan Lerch Executive Director of The American Antiques Show AMERICAN



ALLAN KATZ Americana

Allan & Penny Katz

Always Buying Individual Pieces or Entire Collections. By appointment. 25 Old Still Road Woodbridge, CT 06525 Tel: 203.393.9356


American. Carved marble. Signed within a cariouche "HD" and dated "1934". Measures: 351/2" x 19". This beautifully executed, highly stylized sculpture depicts Adam and Eve with the Snake, under the Tree of Knowledge. A folky Monkey, Bird, and reclining Lion add to a "Peaceable Kingdom" theme.

Visit our new


American Folk Art Museum

0 La_ CRE1310

45 West 53rd Street New York City 212/265-1040 www.folkartmuseum.orq

MUSEUM HOURS Tuesday-Sunday Friday Monday ADMISSION Adults Students/Seniors Children under 12 Members Friday evening 5:30-7:30 PM SHOP HOURS Saturday-Thursday Friday

10:30 Am-5:30 Pm 10:30 Am-7:30 PM Closed $9 $7

Free Free Free to all 10 AM-6 PM 10 AM-8 PM


Folk Art Revealed On continuous The Seduction of Light: Ammi Phillips I Mark Rothko Compositions in Pink, Green, and Red Oct. 7,2008—March 29, 2009

Martin Ramfrez: The Last Works Oct. 7, 2008-April 12, 2009 Up Close: Henry Darcjer Oct. 7,2008-June 2009 Kaleidoscope Quilts: The Art of Paula

Nadelstern Apri121-Sept. 6 'ow) The Treasure of Ulysses Davis April21-Sept. 6,2009 BRANCH LOCATION/BRANCH SHOP 2 Lincoln Square (Columbus Avenue at 66th Street), New York City 212/595-9533 Admissison isfree Hours:Tuesday-Saturday, noon-7:30 PM; Sunday, noon-6 PM Recycling & Resourcefulness: Quilts of the 1930s Oct. 21,2008-March 15,2009 Textural Rhythms: Constructing the Jazz Tradition-Contemporary African American Quilts March 24-Aug 23, 2009 TRAVELING EXHIBITION Ancestry & Innovation: African American Art from the American Folk Art Museum

Multiple venues through fall 2009;see www.sites.sLedu/exhibitions/exhibits/ ancestry_and_innovation/main.htm Asa Ames: Occupation Sculpturing Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation,Williamsburg, Virginia 757/229-1000; Feb. 1-Dec.31,2009 14 FALL 2008 FOLK ART




reat discoveries prompt a thrilling aha moment when the jaw drops,the heart pounds with excitement,and the hand reaches out to communicate with someone,anyone,who will also relish the news. Really big discoveries in this field are fairly rare and thus worthy ofa lot ofattention. But smaller discoveries are made all the time, as collectors UNTITLED (Abstract with Upper Border of and scholars uncover works of art, diligently conduct Nine Tunnels) research,try different paths, make connections,and fill in Martin Ramirez(1895-1963) Auburn, California the details that provide the insight that contributes to our c.1960-1963 understanding of what makes something truly wonderful Mixed media and important. Each ofthe features in this issue relate to 221/2 x 20" this notion ofdiscovery Courtesy Estate of Martin Ramirez A significant body of previously unknown works by @ Estate of Martin Ramirez Martin Ramirez was revealed during the run ofthe artist's retrospective at the museum in 2007.That exhibition was the culmination of several years of research into Ramirez's life. With the discovery ofthese new works—the artist's last—a freer hand is in evidence, and an analysis of Ramirez's stylistic development becomes possible. A selection ofthe drawings opens at the museum this month. Beginning on page 36,curator Brooke Davis Anderson relates the story of how these works came to light. When collector Allan Weiss happened upon a carved walking stick at an antiques show in the Midwest, he was eager to make the purchase but wasn't able to locate the dealer or even establish his identity. Serendipitously, a few days later Weiss came upon an illustration ofa very similar carved walking stick by Henry Gudgell in an exhibition catalog, and the hunt was on. After acquiring the object, he compiled every known reference to Gudgell,searched public records and genealogical websites, and made inquiries far and wide. Ultimately, he was able to tie the walking stick in his collection to the only other known carving by Gudgell. For the account of Weiss's discovery and ensuing decades of research, turn to page 50. The recent discovery ofan artist named Edward Nelson was a similarly happy accident. His body ofwork made its way from tiny Colton,Ore.,to San Francisco,where it was found in the small shop of a dealer in rare art books by writer and editor Peter Hastings Falk. Many ofthe watercolors and monotypes,stored in big hardcover albums,feature strange imagery and inscriptions that provide a glimpse ofthe fantastical visions experienced by their creator. Piqued by what he saw and determined to learn more,Falk embarked on a mission to uncover more works by Nelson and the details of his life. After poring over the artist's inscriptions and writings and conducting genealogical research and interviews with various people who knew the reclusive man,he was able to compile a portrait of Nelson's intriguing life and artmalcing methods. Falk's engaging account begins on page 44. The theme of discovery extends to the Conversation column. Collector Mary Evans sustains an incredible passion for all things Odd Fellows that was spurred by her discovery that an ancestor,an abolitionist who had known Abraham Lincoln,was a member ofthe Lodge. As with many avid collectors, she has a story behind nearly every object she's acquired. For managing editor Mareike Grover's lively interview with Evans,turn to page 28. And finally, we're trying something different this issue: on the flip side ofthe magazine you will find the fully illustrated catalog ofcurator Stacy C. Hollander's provocative exhibition "The Seduction ofLight: Ammi Phillips I Mark Rothko Compositions in Pink, Green,and Red," which also opens this month.Essays by Hollander and contributor Bonnie Clearwater reveal why the two American masters, while disparate in time, place, and presentation, pursued the creation ofinner light in compellingly similar ways.I hope you enjoy it. -




TRADE FIGURES • carved and polychrome wood

26 West Main Street • Westborough, MA 01581 • 508.366.1723

American Folk and Outsider Art Susan Baerwald and Marcy Carsey 2346 Lillie Avenue I PO Box 578 Summerland, CA 93067 (805)969-7118 T (805)969-1042 F














his past year was filled with extraordinary exhibitions, events, and new initiatives. I'd like to share some highlights with you.



Last fall,"Gilded Lions and Jeweled Horses:The Synagogue to the Carousel" opened to tremendous accolades.The New York Times decreed that every section ofthe show offered "some sort ofrevelation," and the members'opening reception was the best attended in the museum's history. Guest curator Murray Zimiles and senior curator Stacy C. Hollander filled the museum with a wondrous juxtaposition of papercuts, woodcarvings,and carousel animals.The show's catalog won the prestigious National Jewish Book Award in the Visual Arts category. At this writing, the raves for our spring shows,"Asa Ames: Occupation Sculpturing" and "Dargerism: Contemporary Artists and Henry Darger," keep rolling in."Asa Ames" was hailed by Roberta Smith in the New York Times as "a stunning little show." A highlight ofthe beautifully installed exhibition was the recent discovery of a daguerreotype ofthe artist at work surrounded by an array of his carvings, one ofwhich was included in our presentation."Dargerism" explored the influence of Maria Ann Conelli and Tim Gunn at TAAS self-taught artist Henry Darger on eleven contemporary artists: Amy Cutler,Jefferson Friedman, Anthony Goicolea,Trenton Doyle Hancock,Yun-Fei Ji,Justine Kurland,Justin Lieberman, Robyn O'Neil, Grayson Perry, Paula Rego,and Michael St.John. Time Out New York named it one of the five most anticipated shows ofthe spring season, and Ken Johnson,in his review in the Times, wrote that seeing Darger among other artists "brings into focus what makes him so singular.... Darger's art has a breadth of technical, formal, narrative, and symbolic imagination rarely encountered in today's professional art world." Brooke Davis Anderson, director and curator ofthe museum's Contemporary Center, created a beautiful and provocative exhibition. Illustrated wall texts for both shows can be found on the museum's website. The newly refurbished space at the museum's branch location at Lincoln Square was unveiled last October with an exhibition of quilts gifted from the collection of Cyril I. Nelson. I'd like to extend my thanks to trustee Joyce B. Cowin and trustee emerita Frances Sirota Martinson,whose generosity secured the future ofthis venue."A Legacy in Wks"was followed in the spring by"Earl Cunningham's America," which featured 50 vibrant landscapes and seascapes by the Florida artist and placed his work within the context of the folk art revival that brought Edward Hicks, Anna Mary Robertson "Grandma" Moses, Horace Pippin, and other folk masters to national attention. I highly encourage you to see the current exhibition at the branch location, "Recycling & Resourcefulness: Quilts of the 1930s." Many of the museum's acclaimed exhibitions go on tour."Ancestry and Innovation: African American Art from the American Folk Art

Museum,"which the museum originated in 2005,traveled this year under the auspices ofthe Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). Highlighting complex and vibrant quilts, paintings, works on paper, and sculpture by contemporary African American artists such as David Butler,Thornton Dial Sr., Sam Doyle, Bessie Harvey, and Clementine Hunter, the show will be on view this fall in Memphis and travel in 2009 to Montgomery,Ala., and Wilmington,Del. Be sure to check the SITES website (see page 14) to find out when it will be in your area. "Martin Ramirez," the retrospective mounted in early 2007, traveled for the remainder ofthe year to museums in San Jose, Calif, and Milwaukee. Press buzz continued when the story ofthe discovery of a large group of previously unknown works by Ramirez appeared in the New York Times last October. A selection from this collection,"Martin Ramirez:The Last Works," will be on view at the museum beginning Oct. 7;I hope you'll come see it. Also opening that day will be"The Seduction ofLight: Ammi Phillips I Mark Rothko Compositions in Pink, Green, and Red."This show will not only be intriguing, interesting, and surprising—it will be dazzling! Events Last October,the museum's annual Fall Benefit raised in excess of$1 million, making it our most successful fund-raiser to date.The evening's three honorees—Joyce B. Cowin, Edgar M.Cullman Sr., and Richard D. Parsons—lent their luster to the event, and for this the museum is most grateful. Board president Laura Parsons and trustees Lucy Cullman Danziger and Joyce B. Cowin deserve particular thanks for their diligent work in every step ofthe process, as do Katie Hush,the museum's indefatigable associate director of special events, and her assistant, Ethan Gould.The 2008 Fall Benefit gala will be held Oct. 15 at the Plaza on Fifth Avenue at Central Park South— this will be a great celebration of American folk art! The other big fund-raising events on the museum's calendar took place in January, beginning with the American Antiques Show(TAAS) and followed closely by the benefit preview ofthe Outsider Art Fair. The chair of the 2008 TAAS Interior Designers Committee,Tim Gunn—host of the popular television shows Tim Gunn's Guide to Style and Project Runway—added just the right celebrity touch. Gunn graciously greeted guests and exhibitors as he moved through the show, chatting, posing for photographs, and signing copies of his book, Tim Gunn:A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style(2007). Martha Stewart also stopped by that evening and gave a glowing account ofthe show on her television program.The consensus was that it was the most beautiful show to date.This is due in no small part to the many staff people involved with TAAS.For details on TAAS 2009, turn to page 56. Free Music Fridays are officially a hit! The number of people who attend these musical performances increases each week(lineups are





posted on the museum's website).The museum expanded this event one evening in May with Folk53 Presents: Dargerism after Dark,a celebration ofthe exhibition with extended hours, great live music performances,and guided tours. Almost 800 people joined us for an artfully good evening—be sure to look for future fun-filled events under the Fo1k53 Presents banner.

extended to Audrey Heckler,who generously supported the evening. During the ceremony,the Henry Darger Study Center Fellowship, another new initiative, was announced. Open to graduate students and generously funded by Margaret Z. Robson,it will allow a fellow to work closely with the museum's staff to research the Darger collection for four weeks each fall.This year's fellowship was awarded to Mary Trent.

New Initiatives

For our younger audience members, Families and Folk Art programs are now offered the first Saturday of each month,from 1 to 2:30 PM. At these events, museum educators present an engaging introduction to the museum and to American folk art through careful observation, gallery discussion, and related hands-on artmaking activities. Programs are designed for children ages 4 to 12 and their adult companions. For more information,see page 65. The first Visionary Award Ceremony kicked off Outsider Art Week, which the museum presents in conjunction with the Outsider Art Fair in January.The 2008 honoree, dealer Phyllis Kind,was recognized for her pioneering work with contemporary self-taught artists over the last four decades.It was a treat to look back through the eyes of Kind's children and a few of her contemporaries. Special thanks are

Balanced Budget

One of the most significant undertakings this year was the implementation ofa balanced budget. A balanced operational budget has farreaching implications for the institution. For example,the museum may now apply for foundation and government grants for which a balanced operational budget is a prerequisite. And we continue to plan for our future. Beginning with the LongRange Planning Committee and morphing into a series of discussionbased dinners, the museum launched a strategic planning process. A full board retreat was held in May that focused on the museum's mission, vision, and values. The American Folk Art Museum is on a positive path. I am delighted that you are part of our exciting journey.*

LEND YOUR NAME and inspire others to do the same. Join the

HAVE YOU REMEMBERED the museum in your will? Join the



and see your name in the museum and in Folk Art. With a gift of $2,500 to $25,000, you can sponsor the display of an object or underwrite an exhibition, publication, or educational program.

and provide enduring support for the museum's exhibitions and educational programs. The Clarion Society recognizes individuals who have remembered the museum in their wills and through other planned gifts. The bequest may be funded with cash, bonds, marketable securities, or property. The museum is a not-for-profit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) entity.

To join the museum's quickly expanding circle of friends or for information on other named-giving opportunities, please contact Christine Corcoran, associate director of individual giving, at 212. 977. 7170, ext. 328, or AMERCAN


18 FALL 2008

SUNBURST / John Scholl (1827-1916)/ Germania, Pennsylvania / 1907-1916 / paint on wood with wire and metal / 71 x 38 x 24 1/2" / American Folk Art Museum, gift of Cordelia Hamilton in recognition of research, work, and continued meritorious contributions in the field of 18th- and 19th-century American folk art by Mrs. Adele Earnest, founding member of the Museum,1982.8.1


For more information or to make a specific bequest, please contact Christine Corcoran, associate director of individual giving, at 212. 977.7170, ext. 328, or



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Giant sturgeon fish decoy with painted messages OLD MOSS BACK, I'LL SCRATCH YOUR BACK, and COME OVER HERE ONCE BABY, length 53 inches c 1940's








ne day in the summer of 1935, a small but triumphant band of people marched up Elm Street in Warren,Ohio,singing"Onward Christian Soldiers" and carrying a piano bench.The peculiar assembly was in celebration of the long-awaited opening ofthe McKinley Community Church building that had grown from the small Sunday school founded on the steps ofthe McKinley Elementary School in June 1921. The church building was not perfect, nor was it entirely finished. The heavy timbers used in its construction were from a covered bridge that had once spanned the Mahoning River at a point known locally as "Center ofthe World," an immodest claim made by a transplanted Pennsylvanian. Its pews were rough and ready, with no racks for hymnals,and large spaces in the backs through which a small child occasionally fell and the coats that female worshippers shrugged offtheir shoulders during services slipped onto the floor covered with old crankcase oil to tamp down the dust. Still, it had been a long time coming, and the program for the dedication services held on July 14 ofthat year could boast 100 church members and 210 children enrolled in the Sunday school. By the end ofthe month,after the initial jubilee, the demands of more earthbound MCKINLEYCOMmuNITY CHURCH SIGNATURE QUILT / Ladies Aid Society, McKinley Community Church / Warren, Ohio / 1935 / wool with wool yarn and embroidery thread / 86 x 741/2 / American Folk Art Museum, gift of loan Massar, 2007.2.1 matters asserted themselves.The need for a gas furnace became apparent, and though still in the wake ofthe Great Depression,the members ofthe Ladies Aid Society of the captured in embroidered thread: yellow thread on black wool and red McKinley Community Church in Warren mustered themselves, as they on tan. Some ofthe names were stitched boldly in capital letters; othhad so many times since the society was formed in the early 1920s,and ers showed more decorum in small, neat upper- and lowercase letters. made a quilt. Then there were names stitched higgledy-piggledy that rambled around The McKinley quilt was colorful and straightforward. It had one their tiny allotment ofspace.The combined Massar/Marsh families purpose and one purpose only: to raise money for the church. And it were particularly well represented, as was only right: they had been part did, at ten cents a name,three names in each block, 12 blocks across, ofthe church community since the very beginning.Ivan Massar Sr. 14 blocks down,totaling 504 names in 168 blocks. Entire families were was one ofthe original trustees and superintendents when the church GAVIN ASHWORTH



was but a Sunday school, and he continued to hold offices within the church throughout his life. Mrs. Massar taught intermediate level in the church school, and with the help of her True Blue Class of13-year-old girls had raised the funds to provide the church bell, a pulpit Bible, and, fittingly, a sewing machine. Ivan Jr., whose name "Jr. Massar" appears boldly in the center of his block, was in the first grade at McKinley Elementary School at the time the quilt was made. The Ladies Aid Society did not waste money on frivolous fabrics for the quilt. It had three hues ofsingle-color wool: black, pink,and tan. Effort was also not wasted in elaborate quilting of motifs that took time and did not earn rewards; the quilt was simply tied in cheerful bright pink wool yarn that has puffed over time like popcorn spilled across the quilt top. However,the ladies needed to draw the line somewhere. They could not bring themselves to make plain utilitarian blocks pieced just for the sake of raising money;they chose instead a basic and easily joined pattern, a Spool block that paid homage to the miles of thread plied in their trade and that could be turned up and sideways to provide some excitement. And it did,taking first prize at the Trumbull County Fair they had been asked to participate in that summer by the Reverend Murray to raise funds for the church.They had dutifully taken a booth, filled it with lunches to sell, won first prize for their quilt, and raffled it off. The Massar family was the lucky winner,and the quilt descended to Ivan Jr., who has donated it to the American Folk Art Museum with its history and its prize-winning first premium label still attached. More than seventy years after it was made,the McKinley Community Church Signature Quilt has earned a place of pride among a small but select group oftextiles in the museum's collection.The quilts in this group signify the power ofwomen united in a single goal to support important causes and each other through their needlework and organizational skills. Women in the 19th century were trained in this type of effort from an early age. As schoolgirls they might participate in sewing circles, stitching necessary items for the poor. Later, as members of a church or a community,they might contribute to a group quilt that expressed friendship, esteem,or purpose. The McKinley Community Church would never have been built without the Ladies Aid Society,formed almost as soon as the original Sunday school was organized.These enterprising women immediately started raising money for a church building through their outreach activities with single-minded determination and against many obstacles. Their funds were frozen during the Depression years; the McKinley school terminated the space-sharing arrangement,leaving the Sunday school homeless, but the Society persevered. By 1934 the funds were released, and in 1935 the Central Christian Church,which governed the Sunday school, assigned lots ofland for the church building.The important decision was quickly made that there would be no smoking, dancing,card parties, or roller-skating in the new church building; it took longer to decide whether or not to have a basement.Throughout the church's history, the Ladies Aid Society continued to give suppers, sew carpet rags for rugs, quilt, and make regular contributions to pay the minister's salary. And the furnace? It was installed in the early 1940s.*

ELIJAH PIERCE 'Stork', ca 1936 This reliefwaspart ofthe 1930s diptych "Death on the Level", pictured page #233, "ELIJAH PIERCE: WOODCARVER'; Columbus Museum ofArt

LINDSAY GALLERY Folk and Outsider Art

FALL 2008



Amencan Folk Art Sidney Gecker

PORTRAIT OF A LADY WITH LACE COLLAR ATTRIBUTED TO HENRY WALTON •1830 - 1840• OIL ON CANVAS • SIZE:33" X 28"•IN VERY FINE CONDITION. 226 West 21st Street• New York, NY 10011 (212)929-8769• •Appointment Suggested Subject to prior sale.



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Now accepting consignments for the Important American Furniture & Folk Art Sale, January 23, 2009 2

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Viewing January 17-22 Inquiries 212 636 2230

Catalogues 800 395 6300


A Carved and Painted Steamboat Weathervane Signed and dated William C. Manchester, Bristol, Rhode Island, October 1858

New York 20 Rockefeller Plaza New York, NY 10020

Sold January 18, 2008 $313,000





Not all literary agents are all about books. Take Mary Evans: her passion for American history has led her to collecting a very special kind of Americana—objects from 19th- and 20th-century Odd Fellows lodges. MG How did you first come across the Independent Order of Odd Fellows? ME I'm from Indiana,and I was descended from people who helped found the Republican Party My father, William McCray Evans,ran for office, so I have very early memories ofgovernment and democracy and all these great American ideals that somehow in the Midwest seem even more true than perhaps in other parts of the country—certainly in the 1950s, when I was young. It's funny because I haven't lived in the Midwest since I was 17, yet if you asked me I would say,"I'm so Midwestern it's almost embarrassing." After deciding at the age of 12 that the Vietnam War was not the type ofconflict appropriate for those American ideals I so revered,I became quite involved with the antiwar movement—not the type ofinvolvement customary to the Republicans I knew.I thought I was an anomaly in my family. However,at one point during my college years (I was an American history major)I talked with my grandmother—my father's mother,who was an oldschool Republican—about family history. She said,"You know, William McCray was an abolitionist. He died on the eve of the Civil War in 1861, and his tombstone resolutely proclaims'Freedom for All Humankind.'"Well,I'd known this ancestor had known Lincoln,and I'd certainly known that many abolitionists were


Republicans back in the 19th century, but I'd never suspected that he was someone who cared about political issues to such a degree.I immediately knew then that I had found my spiritual ancestor. So, when I came home for spring break sometime in 1972, my grandmother and I drove to Crawfordsville,Indiana. She instructed me to go to the Masonic cemetery, which turned out to be an impeccably maintained place. From there she oriented herself and led me across the road and past some tract housing, alongside a little overgrown rise known as Locust Hill. We walked up, and there,in complete neglect and disrepair, was the Odd Fellows cemetery. Completely puzzled, I asked her,"Who are the Odd Fellows?" Well,it turned out William McCray had been a big Odd Fellow. We found his marker,and indeed "Freedom for All Humankind" was etched on the marble. What an astonishing message to leave as an epitaph,including the incredibly inclusive word "humankind," not "mankind" as most would have declared in those prefeminist days. MG The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was formed in America in the early 19th century by members of the society from England.(The original British order dates back to the 1700s.) What distinguished the Odd Fellows from other lodges at the time? ME In the 18th and

Hourglass replica / Odd Fellows / Ohio / nineteenth century / paint on wood

Wall plague / Alex Johnson (dates unknown)/ Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, Lodge No. 1483, Uniontown, Pennsylvania / probably early twentieth century / reverse-painting on glass with daguerreotype

19th centuries, people in smalltown America and Europe formed lodges to socialize.The Odd Fellows predate other charitable fraternities such as the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Knights of Columbus; their central belief is that God will take care of you in the next world, but that we have to take care of our brothers in this world. The Odd Fellows were the first group to grant insurance to members;they took care of widows; and they built an enormous amount of orphanages and retirement homes. Probably the most significant distinction from other 19th-century lodges is that many Odd Fellows were abolitionists— they even allowed blacks to have their own lodges.They were segregated, but for a mid-19thcentury social organization that's very progressive. By the mid-19th century, there were far more Odd



Fellows in America than there were Masons.In fact, they were the largest fraternal group in America at the time—they were enormously influential. Needless to say,I got really interested in them. MG So it was your interest in the society rather than your appreciation of its iconography that first motivated you to collect Odd Fellows artifacts? ME Yes. A few years later, after I'd entered professional life, I would go to local antiques shows whenever I went to Indiana to visit my family. One time I saw this wooden hourglps painted in vivid colors that reminded me ofa carousel horse. There was just something about it. I'll never forget—it was 40 dollars. I was making 8,000 dollars a year working in publishing, so 40 dollars was out of the budget, but I just kept picking it up and flipping it over. Eventually I put it down,and when I was walking out of the booth the dealer said,"That's Odd Fellows." I turned around and went,"That's what? You're kidding me!" Anyway,I had to own that wooden hourglass now,which,ofcourse, stands for the sense of time. It symbolizes the feeling that our time on this earth is limited, so we have to take care ofeach other while we are here. And so I ended up buying the hourglass, and that was the beginning of a decadeslong obsession with discovering more about the Odd Fellows. Their altruistic and charitable ideals and sense of community just resonated with me,and I soon discovered that the hourglass was not the only symbol they had. At the time I started collecting, sadly a lot oflodges were closing, and I heard stories from friends in small towns where members of disbanded lodges

Iconic trinity of chain links / Odd Fellows / probably Maine / nineteenth century / paint on wood

All-seeing Eye of God / Odd Fellows! Pennsylvania / nineteenth century / paint on wood

Scherenschnitt featuring Odd Fellows iconography / probably Massachusetts / nineteenth century / cut paper

would just burn everything in bonfires. I knew some dealers who knew them,so I was able to buy some singular pieces. For example,I own the entire set of artifacts from the lodge in Defiance, Ohio. MG This was in the late 1970s? ME Yes,late '70s into the '80s, when I made a little bit more money.I never found a piece ofLodge that I couldn't find a way to afford.To have these artifacts and these symbols around makes me feel good because I believe in their rhetoric. It connects me with my own past and with American tradition, which I admire and respect and hope more people might want to emulate today when I fear our sense ofcommunity as a nation has been somewhat lost to those who seem to only care about their own enrichment. Plus,I think the stufflooks cool! MG It sure does! Odd Fellows iconography, while it shares a few symbols with that ofother groups, is very distinct. The central trinity—friendship, love, and truth—is symbolized by the three-link chain and is part of the society's emblem. What are other prominent symbols? ME Yes,friendship,love, and truth—what's not to like? The most copied image after the trinity is probably the heart-andhand,which symbolizes the idea that use of might alone isn't optimum—the wisest use strength mixed with compassion.The bundle oftwigs is a visualization of one of the society's guiding principles, unity is strength ("Which is stronger, brother, one twig alone or many bundled together?").The scales ofjustice stands for fairness and righteousness; the snake curled around a stafffor wisdom. Cornucopias, which symbolize the abundance









of the earth, are also popular with the Odd Fellows, as is the allseeing Eye of God. And then there's the casket, which is a big part of the society's iconography (like many Victorian groups, 19th-century Odd Fellows were conscious of death).There are many other symbols whose meaning I'm not sure about. My love of the artifacts is, after all, not to join a group,it's to admire something that I think in its context took the most courageous kind of ethos. If you look in the 19thcentury context of where the society was, where the culture was, where religion was—the Odd Fellows were a beacon,and it's a thrill that I was able to amass this pretty major collection. MG You certainly do have one ofthe largest private collections of Odd Fellows artifacts. Do you know how many pieces you own? ME I have no idea.I would say hundreds. I have eight heart-andhands,including the best one I've ever seen—a polychrome one. MG Do you have a favorite? ME Gosh,which child do I like the best? MG That first hourglass you bought must be very close to your heart. ME It is; it's sentimental. High up in my ranking is probably a Scherenschnitt. It's the biggest one I've ever seen in general, and the fact that it is Odd Fellows in particular—it features every single lodge symbol. I almost can't believe I own it. MG And it's American-made?

Ark with angels / Odd Fellows / Genoa, Ohio / nineteenth century! paint on wood

Bundle of twigs wall decoration / Odd Fellows! Michigan! nineteenth century / paint on tin


ME I'm pretty sure it's Americanmade—it was found many years ago in a consignment shop in Massachusetts.The other thing that really means a lot is an extensive set of miniatures from Ohio—something I've never seen anywhere. Part ofit is a globe, and since the Odd Fellows used the globe as a symbol until about 1848 it means it's pre-1848.The set also includes the scythe, the heart-and-hand,the scales ofjustice, and the snake on a staff. And then there are six plaques that feature every Odd Fellows image, including the globe,so they must also be pre-1850s. Another favorite in my collection is a sword against the infidels—something everyone should have! MG I see there's even blood painted on it. ME Yes, at least I assume it's paint. Herod was a big deal with the Odd Fellows: when they did the initiations, they would recreate stories and people would put on costumes—it was really kind of a show! MG I also love the wooden miniature house with the little Odd Fellows altar in it. Isn't there a personal inscription on the underside? ME Yes,one Odd Fellow from Texas made it for a lodge brother and on the bottom wrote a beautiful dedication to their friendship, an embodiment offraternal love:"Out of the fullness / of your heart I / have partaken my/ fill. As an earnest/ of appreciation /I have wrought this / token and with it /

Gavels featuring Odd Fellows iconography / United States / nineteenth-twentieth centuries / paint on wood

Rhythm pledge my eternal / friendship./ Frank O'Moore" Mr. O'Moore's concept offriendship, so essential to the Odd Fellows, is also so completely deferential,in that kind of Victorian way,that its concepts are moving even in this day. Another thing I love is a Grandmaster gavel with all the Odd Fellows symbols on it. It's from 1934, and it's a one-of-akind object—it also has a nottoo-secret compartment complete with a key. And I'm probably the only literary agent in the business with an ark ofthe covenant in the conference room.It's a great ark—the best one I've ever seen. MG Do you have anything from an African American lodge? ME Yes,I have a large bowl that holds my agency's outgoing mail and a wonderful wall plaque, all of which have either the letter G or the word Grand on them,for

Grand United Order ofOdd Fellows,the name ofany African American lodge. And other things as well! MG Let's go back to your family. Wasn't there another Odd Fellows coincidence involving your father? ME Yes, my father was a prominent Midwestern attorney. He practiced in Indianapolis, and it was only in the late 1980s that I found out that his law firm had been in the Odd Fellows building in Indianapolis! So, again, even though the Odd Fellows were long gone from this building by the time my father's law firm moved in, there was my connection. MG You were meant to collect Odd Fellows. ME Yes, and let me tell you,it's a funny thing to collect something called Odd Fellows— you can imagine the cheap jokes that happen when you leave the room. But I did it anyway.*

in Relic The Works of Lavon Van Williams Opens June 9, 2009 Available for Touring Kentucky Folk Art Center 102 West First Street Morehead, KY 40351 606.783.2204 K1 a cultutal, educational, and economic development service of Morehead State University. Wall plagues / Odd Fellows / United States / early to mid-nineteenth century / paint on wood







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FALL 2008


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UNTITLED (Trains and Tunnels) Martin Ramirez (1895-1963) Auburn, California c.1960-1963 Gouache, crayon, colored pencil, and pencil on lined and pieced paper 17 78" American Folk Art Museum, promised gift of the family of Dr. Max Dunievitz and the Estate of Martin Ramirez, P1.2008.1 0 Estate of Martin Ramirez

n January 2007, after several years of research and deis on

velopment, the American Folk Art Museum mounted

view at the American

a major retrospective of the Mexican American mas-

October 7, 2008, to

Folk Art Museum from

April 12, 2009.

ter draftsman Martin Ramirez(1895-1963), who cre-

The exhibition is made possible in

ated hundreds of drawings and collages of remarkable visual clarity and expressive power within the confines of DeWitt State Hospital in Auburn, California, during the last fifteen years of his life. The exhibition resonated with critics and the public, not just for the stunning artwork on view but also for new research into Ramirez's background that corrected some information published in previous decades.

part by support from Elizabeth A. Stern. Museum exhibitions are supported in part by the Leir Charitable Foundations in memory of Henry J. & Erna D. Leir, the Gerard C. Wertkin Exhibition Fund, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.



Because I suspected that undocumented Ramirez works survived in Northern California homes and attics, I worked with Susan Flamm,the museum's public relations director, to publicize the project in local papers in the Sacramento area—the region where Ramirez had spent the second half of his life. Thinking that a general-interest angle along the lines of Antiques Roadshow would capture readers' interest, I was certain that a few drawings would turn up. In short order, I received three e-mails from people who believed they possessed works by Ramirez. Two of these responses led to dead ends, but the third inquiry proved to be very exciting. It came from two descendants of a Dr. Max Dunievitz, who, in the early 1960s, had been a staff person at DeWitt State Hospital, and this fact indicated that the senders might indeed own work by Ramirez. The message was a curator's dream come true: in it, the descendants described a group of drawings that had been stored by their family for several decades, and the images that accompanied the message clearly depicted drawings by Ramirez. During my first conversation with the Dunievitz family—the late Dr. Dunievitz's daughter-in-law, Peggy, her son,Phil, and Phil's wife,Julie—I was told that they hadn't looked at the drawings in quite a while. At that time, Peggy thought she had approximately fifty works. With the encouragement of Executive Director Maria Ann Conch, I promptly flew to California to see the artwork in person and to verify its authenticity. Surprisingly, even though the works had been stored for so many years in a garage, in boxes above a refrigerator, they were in good condition. I was further shocked to discover that this group of works was significantly larger than anticipated— there were more than 120 works on paper, a remarkable find given that Ramirez's known body of work up to that moment had not exceeded about 300 drawings and collages. The exhibition "Martin Ramirez: The Last Works" showcases twenty-five of these newly discovered pieces, three of which are now part of the museum's collection.



UNTITLED (Riding Forward and Back) c.1960-1963 Gouache, colored pencil, and pencil on lined and pieced paper 19 x 49" Private collection (0 . Estate of Martin Ramirez


UNTITLED (Train and Tunnel) c.1960-1963 Gouache, colored pencil, and pencil on pieced paper 13 32" Private collection L-..; Estate of Martin Ramirez



artin Ramirez left Mexico in 1925 with the aim of finding work in the United States and supporting his wife and children back home in the state of Jalisco.' Political and religious struggles in Mexico that directly affected the welfare of his family prompted him to cross the border, but the economic consequences of the Great Depression left him homeless and without work in Northern California. Unable to communicate in English and apparently confused, he was picked up by the police in 1931 and eventually committed to a psychiatric hospital, where he would be diagnosed as a catatonic schizophrenic. The diagnosis defined the second half of Ramirez's life and confined him to a succession of California mental institutions. During thirty-two years of confinement, Ramirez hardly spoke to anyone. However, sometime in the mid-1930s, he began to draw. In the late 1940s or early 1950s, Dr. Tarmo Pasto, a visiting professor of psychology and art at Sacramento State University, saw some of Ramirez's drawings in the ward at DeWitt and recognized their singular artistic value. Pasto not only made Ramirez a subject of his research into mental illness and creativity but also began to supply him with materials, store his drawings, and, by organizing public exhibitions, introduce his artwork to the public. The previously known body of drawings and collages was assembled and promoted by Pasto. Pasto's last visit with Ramirez at DeWitt most likely took place in 1959 or 1960. Max Dunievitz (18881987) worked at DeWitt from 1960 to 1965 and essentially picked up with Ramirez where Pasto had left off, securing supplies for the artist and organizing the drawings made between 1960 and the artist's death in 1963— the last works.' Given that Dunievitz spoke Spanish, it is likely that they conversed at least now and then. He also mounted the first posthumous Ramirez exhibition, a show at DeWitt in 1963. In the newly found works that had been stored by Dunievitz and his descendants, the same subjects and

UNTITLED (Reina/Madonna) c.1960-1963 Paint, crayon, pencil, and collage on lined paper 48 \ 18" American Folk Art Museum, gift of the family of Dr. Mao Dunievitz and the Estate of Martin Ramirez, 2008.14.1 yr Estate of Martin Ramirez

themes that Ramirez had previously explored in his drawings—trains and tunnels, Mexican and Californian landscapes, Madonnas, animals, and horsemen—are prevalent. However, it is the previously known work with a twist: the familiar motifs are tweaked in subtle ways, and scale and material, while similar, are animated by a greater use of color and a bolder exploration of abstraction. A master bricoleur, Ramirez continued to work with found materials—discarded nurses' notes, magazines, newspapers, book pages, flattened paper cups, and examining-table cover sheets, which he glued together with homemade adhesives—and crayons, colored pencils, water-based paints, and a homemade liquid medium, possibly a mixture of shoe polish and fruit juices. He used wooden matchsticks rather than brushes and a tongue depressor as a straightedge. Once Ramirez completed a drawing, particularly one of large scale, he would stand on a table to evaluate the artwork,laid out on the

floor, from an appropriate distance.' or a staff member at DeWitt working The works preserved by Dunievitz under Dunievitz's direction. Notations range in size from 2 to more than 18 such as "1-15-62," "Finished 3/14feet long. 62," "August 1962," "Oct 1962," and Thoughtfully composed and vigor- "Jan 1-1963" (six weeks before the ous in execution, Ramirez's images artist died) appear on the backs of display a clear understanding offormal many ofthese compositions. Ramirez's artistic principles. His bold, confident repeated use offavored motifs and the fingerprint contours—the recurring absence of dates for the previously curvilinear lines that recall patterns on known body of work, coupled with mollusk shells—and their nearly per- the scant primary-source information fect spacing indicate the forceful con- about the artist, have made it difficult trol Ramirez brought to each scene, as to accurately trace his stylistic develwell as the clarity and discipline of his opment. With the newly revealed last artistic expression. In this last work, works, an analysis of Ramirez's oeuvre he transformed his train-and-tunnel becomes possible. theme into a motif of abstract arcades In the drawings created between and tunnels in some drawings, de- 1960 and 1963, the classic horseback emphasizing the train as a secondary rider, or jinete, which Ramirez drew subject or omitting it altogether. more than any other subject, plays a Ramirez did not sign or date the highly stylized horn rather than sportworks that were assembled by Tarmo ing the gun seen in earlier works. In Pasto (though Pasto dated a few that the more than eighty jinete drawings he gathered in 1954 and 1955). In gathered by Pasto, the horseman is this newly discovered body of work, framed in a boxlike space strongly many of the drawings are dated and suggestive of a stage: he is physi"signed," perhaps by Max Dunievitz cally isolated from the drawn world

UNTITLED (White Church with Abstract Sides) c.1960-1963 Paint, crayon, pencil, and collage on found paper 18 221 / 2 " American Folk Art Museum, promised gift of the family of Dr. Max Dunievitz and the Estate of Martin Ramirez, P1.2008.2 Estate of Martin Ramirez


UNTITLED (Galleon on Water) c. 1960-1963 Gouache, colored pencil, and pencil on pieced paper 33 • 24" Collection of Audrey B. Heckler s' Estate of Martin Ramirez

111 UNTITLED (Horse and Rider on Pedestal with Brick Structures and Cannonballs) c. 1960-1963 Paint, crayon, and pencil on paper towels with cigarette papers 4" / 24 201 Collection of Jennifer Pinto Safian to Estate of Martin Ramirez

UNTITLED (Horse and Rider with Horn, Rabbit, and Green Bird) August 1962 Gouache, crayon, colored pencil, and pencil on brown paper bag 15 23" Collection of Audrey B. Heckler 0 Estate of Martin Ramirez

' 111, UNTITLED (Auana Cuua) c. 1960-1963 Gouache, colored pencil, and pencil on pieced paper 2 20" / 441 Private collection e, Estate of Martin Ramirez


pulsating around him. Ramirez subtly altered the construction of the stage from drawing to drawing, changing line, perspective, color, texture, shading, and scale, thus creating a surprising diversity within the series. With the newly revealed works, created only a few years later, the primary subjects on the stage are more often a deer, architectural elements, a man at a desk, or, most unusually, a somewhat Azteclooking male figure with a crown. In the last works, the horseback rider is often released from his stage, roaming the composition untethered. In Untitled (Horse and Rider with Horn, Rabbit, and Green Bird)(opposite), Ramirez relegates his horseman to the sidelines, placing the horn front and center and giving it exaggerated form and splendid coloration. Throughout his last years, Ramirez remained enamored of the train traveling on its tracks in an often Escheresque landscape. The concentric lines, tunnels, orifices, and voids in the picture of steam trains called Untitled (Trains and Tunnels)(pages 36-37) bring to mind the similarly mysterious work of Lee Bontecou. The exquisitely staged drawing is part of a suite on the subject. Ramirez may have used a maquette or stencil and traced this train image in order to create similarity within the grouping. The work is formally composed and organized horizontally, with one train exiting into a tunnel on the left and another train entering from the right. The surrounding landscape is strikingly suggested by Ramirez's distinctive fingerprint pattern. Overall, the effect is one of powerful movement, evoking the artist's long,personaljourney from Mexico to the United States and the great distance between the place he had come from and where he found himself. Ramirez's line is admirably controlled here, especially given the uneven surface he worked on. Only the photographer 0. Winston Link seems to have obsessed as much as Ramirez over steam locomotives and trains; each artist was enthralled by their physical power and Industrial Age genius. The visual force in Untitled (Trains and Tunnels) underscores this potent meaning for Ramirez and points to his sheer pleasure in making lines, which pulsate

with hypnotic precision. In this largescale work, Ramirez achieves a kind of grandeur—especially remarkable when one considers the environment in which he created the drawing. (According to Pasto and nurses who worked on his ward, Ramirez drew on the floor; his "studio space" was bordered by two beds and a nightstandi Martin Ramirez's known body of work, now totaling nearly 450 drawings and collages,is still relatively small considering that the artist was active for almost thirty years. It is quite possible that more drawings will come to light, expanding Ramirez's oeuvre, revealing new information about the artist's life and work, and ensuring that the 2007 finds are more than an epilogue to the story of a virtuoso artist who continues to fascinate us.* Brooke DavisAnderson is the director and curator ofthe museum's Contemporary Center. Editor's Note

This essay was adapted from the author's essay in Martin Ramirez: The Last Works(Petaluma, Calif: Pomegranate Communications,Inc., in association with Ricco/Maresca Gallery,2008). For more information, see p.59,visit, or call 800/227-1428. Notes 1 For more information,see Victor M. Espinosa and Kristin E. Espinosa,"The Life of Martin Ramirez,"in Brooke Davis Anderson,Martin Ramirez(Seattle: Marquand Books in association with American Folk Art Museum,2007), pp. 19-39. 2 The information about Max Dunievitz presented in this essay was gathered by the author in several interviews with the Dunievitz family and culled from a centennial publication about 100 influential people in Auburn,Calif, published May 22, 1988,by the Auburn Journal. 3 James Durfee,conversations with the author,2006. Durfee worked in the hospital ward where Ramirez resided and recalls the artist's day-to-day habits. 4 Pasto recounted Ramirez's environment in several lectures and in an application for funding to produce a documentary film on the artist. Copies ofPasto's lecture notes and the grant application are on file at the American Folk Art Museum,New York, research library.

FALL 2008



Ciepmic Visions of Ed Nelson "The process that I use is taken By Peter Hastings Falk raveling southeast from Portland,


Oregon, it takes less than an hour to reach the foothills of the Cascade Range and Mount Hood National Forest. With

good directions, you may discover Colton, a tiny town set amid the beautiful wilderness in Clackamas County. Colton was settled by a group of Swedish immigrants in 1865. They were loggers of the tall Douglas fir, whose trunks were floated downstream and then cut and sold as railroad ties. It wasn't until just after 1900 that English was taught at the local log cabin school.Today, there are a gas station, a fire department, a store, and several small churches.



UNTITLED (Photo Genetics) Edward M. Nelson (1908-1992) Colton, Oregon c.1961-1965 Pigment on paper 12 x 17/ 1 2 " Courtesy Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York


nd is not known by man on this earth."

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The region recalls the Old West. Herds of wild horses still roam freely here in the sagebrush, coyotes and black bears abound in the hills, and schoolteachers have been told to be vigilant for cougars while the children are playing at recess. In small towns like Colton, another species of local wildlife can be seen at the bars, often wearing holsters with sidearms. Logging and farming seem to be the main businesses here, but economic growth is not on most people's agenda. Ever since the hippie counterculture discovered the area in the mid-1960s, the major crop has been marijuana. But the Feds claim they are at least making progress in eliminating the once-ubiquitous meth labs hidden in the woods. For visitors to Colton, a car in good working order is a necessity. A cell phone is a smart addition, but reception is spotty. It is equally important to travel with a friend. The main reason the back roads are generally unsafe is that rifle shots at lone drivers are a common report. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, one of the more notorious of shooters was Edward M. Nelson (1908-1992). Nelson had become inreasingly paranoid that people were trying to steal his land, his inventions, and his paintings. As a result, he became fiercely protective of these three treasures, which he considered sacred. From the high vantage point of his property, he could spot anyone approaching on the country road and would drive them away by firing upon them. Everyone in town knew he was a dead shot with his rifle. Those few who were allowed to enter his property also knew him as Melvin E. Nelson, the old hermit artist. As the creator of "Original Astral-Planetary Art," Nelson signed his paintings with the initials "M.E.N," which also stood for"Mighty Eternal Nation." But Nelson knew nothing of art before he moved to his hilltop farm in Colton. He was born in Traverse City, Michigan, in 1908, and little is known of his youth or family except that he claimed to be a descendent of Admiral Lord Nelson and of Martin Luther. In 1942, at the age of 35, he suddenly abandoned his wife and infant daughter in Michigan and moved to Portland. There he found work as



an electrician at the Willamette Iron & Steel Company, a major shipbuilding firm during World War II. After the war, he worked as a "troubleshooter and investigator electrician," and by 1957 he was working as an installer for the phone company. Around 1958, he invited an old buddy, Cleo McClintock—whom he called "Mac"—to move with him to Colton, where he had purchased a beautiful 80-acre tract in the rolling wooded hills with cabins, barns, and several dilapidated outbuildings and trailers. McClintock had just filed a patent for an "air engine" that took advantage of the heat built up from the compression of pistons. In Colton, both men finally found the remoteness considered ideal for the privacy they required to further develop their electronics and inventions. The two men referred to themselves as brothers, and McClintock even assigned ownership in his air engine patent to Nelson, which sold in the 1970s. The local rumor was that both men had worked on radar research during the war. One barn on the property was filled with unusual generators, coils, radar equipment, antennae, and various types of electronic gear, including three of Nelson's creations: a "cyclotronic generator," for levitating objects; an "anyzager," or "instrument of truth," a device to achieve astral projection and the tool with which "God can see all things upon the earth below"(and perhaps deriving from the German Anzeiger, or "indicator"); and a "planetron," which Nelson claimed was capable of generating cosmic energy in much the same manner as a nuclear accelerator. The planetron had a viewing window through which Nelson would record his views of outer space and attempt to receive communications from unidentified flying objects. Colton is in a region of Oregon well known for its numerous UFO sightings. The famous "flying saucer" photographs that were published in the June 25, 1950, issue of Life magazine were snapped by farmer Paul Trent over his fields in the nearby

town of McMinnville.These and other records of UFOs created in the middle of the twentieth century helped ignite a nationwide surge of interest in the phenomenon. For Nelson, the UFOs were a confirmation of his quest to explore the link between two universes, the cosmos and the atomic world. He claimed to have seen UFOs land on his farm many times, and he wrote and

spoke frequently about the extraordinary lights he saw at night. A major fault line also runs through the region, and earthquakes are common. Nelson soon came to believe that a vast underground alien base lay hidden beneath his property. He claimed to be able to detect the difference between a true earthquake—such as the one that had caused so much damage to his first

UNTITLED (Photo Genetics) n.d. Pigment on paper 12 x 17" Courtesy Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York

UNTITLED (Photo Genetics) n.d. Pigment on paper 11 x 13/ 1 2 " Collection of Selig and Angela Sacks

SELF-PORTRAIT WITH ANYZAGER 1962 Watercolor on paper 18 24" Courtesy Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York

house on the property that he had to abandon it—and a tremor caused by underground aliens. Many people in the region agreed that certain earthquakes were not natural but caused by mysterious underground explosions. Nelson had no formal artistic training, but on March 12, 1961, at age 54, he was suddenly reborn as an artist: a "cosmic" artist. The catalyst for his ephiphany is not clear, but it is certainly linked to his experiments with electronics, magnetism, and light, as well as to his frequent documentations

exposed layers of colored clays and the bottom of a canyon near a creek, the site of repeated UFO landings according to Nelson. In a procedure performed much like dowsing, he would walk the property with the stardust to determine the varying strengths of magnetic forces and energies he felt being emitted from specific spots, observing the material's reaction to the fluxes in the magnetic fields of the land. Once he found the correct locations, he created what he called his "recordings"

of UFO sightings and alleged contacts with aliens. For aboutfive years,Nelson recorded his observations using two techniques and mediums, which he called "Photo Genetics" and "Sentra Photo Thesis." Essential to the Photo Genetics works was the process of preparing his "sacred" pigments, or "stardust"—rocks and minerals gathered from his property that he grinded in a hand-cranked gold crusher. Roaming his property, usually after midnight, he would gather his specimens from two favored locations: a natural cut in the hillside that

under the stars. His purpose was ostensibly to allow the atoms in the pigment particles to release their unique image on paper, thereby portraying a true and intimate relationship to "worlds from outer space." Although one of his notebooks reveals the ingredients for his pigments, Nelson appears to have continually experimented with different types of rocks and minerals to create the appropriate "planetary colors." In order to achieve colors not obtainable from the clays and rocks on his property, he may also have ordered minerals such

as aragonite, calcite, fluorite, scheelite, and willemite from California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and even Quebec, as indicated by a list in the notebook. Many of the Photo Genetics works employ decalcomania, a technique to which surrealists laid claim. Since Nelson created the Photo Genetics outdoors in specific locations where he felt electromagnetic vibrations, it is likely that he applied his hand-ground pigments with a liquid medium—or what he described as "special waters"— to a sheet ofglass or a smooth metal plate before transferring it to paper. (His recipe for a burnt umber medium called for boiling coffee with iodine, water, and ammonia nitrate and mixing it with stardust once cooled.) Nelson frequently referred to these works as "prints," "reliefs," or "recordings" and never as "paintings." The results of decalcomania vary depending on the degree of manual pressure applied, viscosity of the pigment, and the speed with which the paper is pulled off. The transferred image typically reveals a delightfully unpredictable branching pattern similar to the dendritic ridges and fractals evident in leaf veins, ferns, fungi, sponges, moss agates, and stalagmites, as well as lightning and tributary networks. The technique lends the illusion of depth in otherwise flat blobs of pigment. Like the surrealists, Nelson often used decalcomania as a base with which to represent topography, then added in various forms with brush and watercolor to represent atomic energy, electromagnetism,stars, and planets. The Sentra Photo Thesis works were painted with traditional watercolor or acrylic pigments and revealed the relationship between microcosm and the macrocosm, between atoms and the planets. All were painted by direct observation from Nelson's vantage point in outer space using his anyzager; he believed that God had granted him the special, otherworldly gift to see true views of the atoms, the earth, and the planets. He frequently used motifs that derive from hobo signs, pictograms that symbolize messages to fellow travelers such as "safe camp," "kind woman," and "look out

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UNTITLED (Octipus Series) June 24, 1963 Watercolor on paper 111/2 16" Collection of Jacqueline Fowler



UNTITLED (Octipus Series) March 25,1964 Watercolor on paper 11 1/2 151 / 2 " Collection of Jacqueline Fowler

UNTITLED (Sentra Photo Thesis/Photo Genetics) 1962 Pigments on canvasboard 20 24" Collection of Edward V. Blanchard Jr.

UNTITLED (Octipus Series) March 26,1964 Watercolor on paper 11Y2 x 151/2" Collection of Jacqueline Fowler

for thieves," as well as more personal symbols such as "planetary atoms" or "spiritual atoms"—which he depicted both in a chevron shape and as arrowshaped caterpillars firing bursts of energy—and "earthly atoms" or "material atoms," which he described as tadpoles. He also incorporated mandalas into his work (primarily to depict the atomic structure of the universe and various electromagnetic rings that encircle the earth and other planets), parabolas, spirals, and hexagrams. Nelson's works are largely focused upon cosmic landscapes and events in outer space. Figures rarely make an appearance, but when they do they are typically related to aliens. He used any scrap of paper that he could find to record his visions in the field—junk mail envelopes, letterheads, cardboard, supermarket flyers, old electrical plans and blueprints, a large supply of menus dated 1949-1950 from a restaurant in Portland, and,for at least one drawing, an insert from Fate magazine, devoted to the paranormal and "true stories of the strange and the unknown," including UFOs, astrology, astral projection, and psychic phenomena. One remarkable series of Sentra Photo Thesis paintings, titled Octipus, relates to the Great Alaska Earthquake of March 27, 1964, the second largest earthquake ever recorded, with a magnitude of 9.2 on the Richter scale

and tremors recorded on seismographs worldwide. The watercolors illustrate a gigantic black octopus descending upon the earth and constricting it with its tentacles; one work bears the inscription "He is crushing the earth something terrible, now the earth starts to shudder and shake; its bowels is now fractured. Great earth quakes and destruction is come up on the earth before me." The sequence is dated beginning March 24: Nelson claimed to have had a premonition three days prior to the powerful earthquake, and he first noted alarming cosmic activity a year earlier, in June 1963, when he detected the octopus as a whirl in outer space. Around the time he created this series, Nelson tried in earnest to market his stardust, which he valued at $29 million per ton. In 1966, he solicited investors for capital to build a large stardust manufactory, even printing up professional flyers. In 1970, he embarked on a business arrangement with a prospector and miner who agreed to purchase Nelson's land in exchange for lifetime tenancy and a salary to manage the stardust plant that would be constructed; when the project stalled a year later, Nelson was forced to sue to retain ownership of his land. He subsequently entered into a similarly messy and protracted arrangement with members of a counterculture church group whom he'd invited to live

on his property; this relationship, too, soured and required legal dissolution at the end ofthe decade. After Nelson's death from cancer in 1992, his acreage was sold to a real estate investor, and the contents of the various barns and outbuildings were sold as scrap or buried in a trench on the land.The property was never developed, however, and the squatters who overtook the dwellings quickly established a large meth lab in one of the barns. After it was raided and shut down by drug enforcement agents, the local fire department determined that because the barn was so filled with highly combustible and noxious chemicals the safest plan was to burn it down. Walking about the charred remains, the firemen noticed a glinting pattern around the foundation. Looking closer, they discovered that the sparkle was metal reflecting the sunlight, when Nelson and McClintock had cashed in the check for the air engine patent, they took it in the form of thousands of coins, which they had buried in the walls.* Peter Hastings Falk is the author of Who Was Who in American Art, 15641975:400 Years ofArtists in America (Madison, Conn.:Sound View Press, 1985)and numerous art reference guides and monographs. He is also thefounding editor and the president of Hastings Art Management Services,Inc.

UNTITLED (Octipus Series) March 29, 1964 Watercolor on paper 111 / 2x 151 / 2 " Collection of Jacqueline Fowler

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Finding the Other Henry Gudgell Walking Stick


he wooden walking stick created by Henry Gudgell in the coliF of the Yale University Art Gallery has commonly been considered the only surviving example of the artist's work as a carver. It has also been described as the best example of any African American work that shows the transition of culture and tradition from Africa to America.' This is the story of the discovery of another wooden walking stick and the research into its history and that ofits carver—who was, as can now be said with certainty, the very man who created the walking stick in the Yale collection: Henry Gudgell.

WALKING STICK Henry Gudgell (1826-1895) Livingston County, Missouri c. 1864 Wood 36% \ 4 Ye" Collection of Anna and Allan Weiss

By Allan Weiss

HENRY GUDGELL was born into slavery in Anderson County, Kentucky, in 1829. His mother, Rachael, who was about 15 or 16 years old at the time of Henry's birth, was the property of Samuel Arbuckle, a wealthy and politically prominent gentleman. As Henry's father was said to be a white man,it is likely that his father was his master.' Sometime between 1830 and 1832, Rachael and Henry left Kentucky for Missouri under the charge of Arbuckle's daughter Elizabeth Arbuckle Gudgell and her husband, Jacob Gudgell Jr.' Records indicate that the Gudgells arrived in Ray County, Missouri, by 18314 They later moved to Livingston County, Missouri, where Henry Gudgell spent the rest of his life working as a blacksmith, coppersmith,silversmith, and wheelwright.' John T. Gudgell, the only known son of Jacob and Elizabeth Gudgell,was married to Lovey Gregory, a daughter of Spencer Hall Gregory. In 1853, John Gudgell sold

Henry Gudgell to his father-in-law, who was a wealthy merchant from the coastal region of Currituck County, North Carolina, where he had owned a fleet of merchant ships that delivered goods along the Eastern Seaboard.'He sold this concern in 1834 when he moved to Livingston County, Missouri, with his slaves—one of whom, Chloe Woodus,became Henry Gudgell's At some point between 1853 and 1861, Henry Gudgell became the property ofJohn Bryan (1812-1899), the original owner ofthe walking stick in the Yale collection. Records show that on or about May 15, 1861, Bryan enlisted in the First Missouri Calvary Company A at Utica under the command of William Yancy Slack.' This unit belonged to the Missouri State Guard and ultimately became a part of the Confederate Army,but not before Bryan was discharged. He was captured in the Battle of Wilson's Creek on August 10, 1861, taken prisoner near Springfield, Missouri, and exchanged and returned to his unit shortly thereafter. But just over a month later, sometime between September 13 and 20, Bryan suffered a leg injury in the Siege of Lexington, Missouri, and was discharged.' A letter written on March 20, 1915, by John Bryan's son Andrew J. Bryan states that "with consent of[John Bryan's] Commander, he came home and surrendered to the Federal authorities at his own home, as he had been crippled in the right leg at Lexington and was no longer fit for service."' A story documented by another son, John Albury Bryan, on April 2, 1923, recounts that when his father returned home after having been wounded in the Siege of Lexington, Unionists decided at a secret meeting held at Utica that since the Missouri State Guard had become part of the Confederate Army,he was guilty oftreason.The committee

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planned to execute him later that night at his home; warned of the plot, however, Bryan escaped and boarded a train on the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad to Denver, where he remained until after the war was over." Yale University Art Gallery acquired its Gudgell walking stick in 1968 from Bryan's grandson, also named John Bryan, who was a prominent architect and early preservationist in St. Louis. It had descended to his father, John Albury Bryan. In 1940, the cane was illustrated and cataloged for the Index ofAmerican Design. The accompanying data sheet states that the object was made in 1863, and that the owner's father was an Army officer with a slave who went to battle with him:"While fighting in Missouri with the armies of the South and North, the slave carved this cane to suit his fancy for his master."' On January 9,1863,a parole written by Robert S. Moore, the provost marshal of Livingston County, decreed that Chloe Woodus, about 38 years old, and her six children— William H. Gudgell, about 13; Harrison Gudgell, about 9; Fred Gudgell, about 6; Carolyn Gudgell, about 3; Bondo Gudgell, about 3; and Edmond Gudgell, 7 months—were to be considered captives of war and entitled to the protection of all officers of the United States. While the parole gave Woodus and her children the protection of all officers of the United States, they were not actually freed, because the January 1,1863,Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves only within the states that had seceded from the Union, and Missouri was not one of them. Henry Gudgell's name is conspicuously missing from this document. However,ifJohn Bryan took Gudgell with him to Denver and they did not return until after the war,this could account for the absence. After the war, Gudgell bought 22 acres of land in Livingston County from Spencer H. Gudgell, the son of John T. and Lovey Gregory Gudgell." After Henry Gudgell's death in 1895,the property passed to his youngest son,Edmond,and stayed in the Gudgell family until 1945.'4



discovered the second Henry Gudgell walking stick in the spring of 1982. My wife, Anna, and I had stopped at an antiques show in Indianapolis on our drive home to Louisville from a decoy show in Chicago. I saw the walking stick on an unattended table and was immediately attracted to it. Although it looked African and we were collecting only American folk art, my wife urged me to buy it. We could not locate the seller, however, so we left without the walking stick or even knowing the name of the dealer. Several days later, I went to see "Black Folk Art in America, 1930-1980," the seminal exhibition organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., which was on view at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville. That evening, as I was paging through the show catalog, I came upon the image of Yale's Gudgell walking stick and immediately realized that the piece I saw at the Indianapolis antiques show must have been created by the same maker.' Thus began an anxious monthlong quest to locate this second walking stick. I started by calling friends and dealers across the country who might also have encountered it at the show. Eventually, I talked to someone who directed me to the dealer and who told me the piece came from Missouri and, more specifically, from Livingston County. This was exhilarating information, because as I knew from the "Black Folk Art in America" catalog, Yale's Gudgell was linked to Livingston County!' I immediately mailed the dealer a check, and the walking stick arrived in the mail three days later. Information about its origins was scarce, but the pickers from whom this dealer had acquired the walking stick said they had purchased it from an older woman who appeared to be "down on her luck," but they could not remember her name. The uppermost section of the walking stick in the Yale collection features deeply grooved, spiral fluting. The fluted


CANE Henry Gudgell (1826-1895) Livingston County, Missouri e. 1867 Wood 37 x 11 / 2 " Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, Director's Purchase Fund, 1968.23

section is bisected near the bottom by a thumb-size indent, home, and is a clerk in the Woodford Circuit Court, where and below are a few raised bands,one featuring a diamond- I have spent many hours as an attorney. shape pattern. The shaft is populated with relief carvings Finnel had read about the Gudgell walking stick from of a lizard and a tortoise depicted from a bird's-eye view, my collection when it was included in the exhibition the figure of a man with knees slightly bent, a branch from "Kentucky Collects Kentucky" (1999) at Morehead State which a single leaf sprouts, and, coiling up from the base of University but had not made the connection to the Gudgell the stick, a serpent. The second walking stick bears uncan- family of Anderson County. We made plans to meet, and nily similar composition, motifs, and carving technique!' Anna and I took the walking stick for her to see. During As in the Yale piece, the upper portion of this second walk- our visit, Finnel suggested that I contact Mildred (Sue) ing stick is dominated by spiral fluting, interrupted with Jones, a genealogist and historian in Livingston County. two plain bands, and below is a similar cuff of diamond When I called Jones, I found she was a treasure trove of patterning. While it does not feature the figure of a man or information about the Gudgell and Gregory slave families a branch with leaf; it does include very similar relief carv- in Missouri. Jones had been raised down the road from an ings of a lizard, a tortoise, and an entwined snake. older couple whom everyone in the community knew as Robert Farris Thompson and other academics have Uncle Eddie and Aunt Georgia. After some discussion, raised questions about Henry Gudgell's exposure to other we came to the conclusion that Uncle Eddie was Edmond woodcarvers and to African iconography. Thompson, in Gudgell, Henry and Chloe's youngest son. particular, has noted a similar style and use of traditional Jones then directed me to Charles Crain, a greatAfrican iconography in the work of Gudgell and the work grandson of the artist. We met two weeks later and went to of carvers from the Georgia coast!' How did these styles the Utica cemetery where Henry Gudgell, Chloe Woodus, appear on carvings created by craftsmen in Southern tide- and various family members are buried. Crain suggested water regions and by a Kentucky-born slave living in that we also visit his cousin Theresa Weaver, who showed Missouri? The influence could have derived from Spencer us pictures of Edmond and Georgia Gudgell, her grandparHall Gregory's slaves, who, like Gudgell's wife, were ents!'(Weaver remembers her grandfather's story of how brought to Missouri from coastal North Carolina. the outlaw Jesse James came to Henry Gudgell's house late For more than twenty years, I conducted research into one night to have his horses shoed, and how Chloe fixed this artist by scouring libraries, journals, and all the books him and his gang some food and wrapped it in a bandanna I could find about American folk art. I came across many for them to take.I like to think that Henry Gudgell was the references to the Yale walking stick but no further informa- most accomplished blacksmith in the area, and that Jesse tion about Henry Gudgell or his family. In October 2001, James trusted him because they were both Kentuckians.) however, I learned that information about the Gudgell It is not often that one has the opportunity to successslave families had been contributed to a genealogical web- fully do the kind of detective work I did in the case of the site by a woman named Linda Gudgell Finnel. I e-mailed second Henry Gudgell walking stick. I hope that my odysher, and, to my delight, she responded, telling me that she sey and the wealth ofinformation it unearthed will encourcould share a large amount of information. Even better, age other collectors to research their artworks and share Finnel lives in Versailles, Kentucky, only 60 miles from my their discoveries with fellow enthusiasts.*



Acknowledgments 5 Thompson,op. cit., p. 128. I cannot conclude this account without expressing my thanks 6 The bill ofsale, dated Feb. 2,1853,states "For and in considerto Linda Gudgell Finnel and Mildred (Sue) Jones, without ation of the sum of One Thousand Dollars to me in hand paid the whose help I may never have uncovered this much about Receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge I have this day sold to Spencer H.Gregory a Negro man named Henry for the above sum. Henry Gudgell's life. ...The said Negro is Twenty four years old sound in body and in mind and a slave for life...."; Grand River Historical Society, Allan Weiss has been collectingAmericanfolk artfor more than Chillicothe,Mo.The date and age listed in this document support thirty-Jive years. His collection includes walking sticks, duck an 1829 birth year for Gudgell. decoys, handmadefishing lures, and hand-illustrated envelopes. 7 Livingston County Genealogy Society, L4felines vol. 12, no.4 He has served on the board ofdirectors at the Kentucky Museum (October-December 1998) and vol. 15, no. 1(January-March ofArtand Craft, Louisville. 2001). 8 Record ofMissouri Confederate Veteran Notes compiled for the United Daughters ofthe 1 See,for example,John Michael Vlach, The Confederacy,Missouri Division, mainAfro-American Tradition in Decorative Arts tained by Western Historical Manuscript (Cleveland: Cleveland Museum ofArt, 1978), Collection-Columbia,University of Missouri pp. 35-36; and Regenia A.Perry,"African Art State Historical Society ofMissouri, and African-American Folk Art: A Stylistic Columbia,collection no. 3188,folder 37. and Spiritual Kinship,"in Robert V. Rozelle, 9 Ibid. Alvia Wardlaw,and Maureen A.McKenna 10 Ibid. (eds.), Black Art—AncestralLegacy:The 11 Ibid. African Impulse in African-American Art 12 National Gallery ofArt,Washington, (Dallas: Dallas Museum ofArt,1989), D.C.,Modern Prints and Drawings Section, pp. 39-41. Although the walking stick was Index ofAmerican Design,Data Report Sheet first included in James A.Porter, Modern no. Mo-Ca-41,Jan.23,1940.Thompson Negro Art(New York: Dryden Press, 1943), helped Yale acquire its walking stick after Robert Farris Thompson's essay"African seeing it in the Index ofAmerican Design; Influence on the Art ofthe United States,"in Thompson,telephone conversations with and Armstead L. Robinson, Craig C.Foster,and e-mails to the author,July 2002. Donald H.Ogilvie (eds.), Black Studies in the 13 Livingston County,Mo.,Recorder's University:A Symposium(New Haven,Conn.: Office,Deed,July 16,1870,recorded in Deed Yale University Press, 1969), pp. 122-170, Book 33,p. 145.The source ofSpencer H. contains what appears to be the first in-depth Gudgell's title is found in a deed dated documentation of the walking stick and of 1867 and recorded in Book 28,page 188, Gudgell's family history. All subsequent artiLivingston County Recorder's Office. Several cles and comments on Gudgell's life I have publications refer to John Bryan not as found are based on that essay. Research I have Gudgell's master but as a friend of his master, conducted contradicts some ofthe previously identified as Spencer H.Gudgell. Spencer published facts. Gudgell was the grandson ofSpencer Hall 2 The 1870 U.S. Census for Livingston Gregory,who had purchased Henry Gudgell County,Mo.,records Henry Gudgell as a from his son-in-law in 1853.There is no "Mulatto." evidence that ownership ever passed to 3 Samuel Arbuclde left in trust to his Gregory's grandson.It is not known when daughter Elizabeth Arbuckle Gudgell"the transfer was made to Bryan,but the Gregory, following property to wit: One Negro woman Gudgell,and Bryan families were interrelated named Betty, aged about 50 years,one Negro by that time,as Bryan's brother Roberson had man named Roy,aged about 40 years,one married John T Gudgell's sister Narcissa in Negro woman named Rachael, aged about 16 1842; Mildred (Sue)Jones,e-mail to the auyears and her child named Henry,age about thor, Sept.5,1996,and Green Hills Pioneers, 6 or 8 months and one Negro boy named (http://homepages.rootsweb. George aged about 12,the total value of which Negroes is estimated at $1,000(One htm#P1313),accessed June 3,2008. Thousand Dollars)"; Anderson County, Ky., Clerk's Office,Trust 14 Livingston County,Mo.,Recorder's Office,May 23,1945, Indenture,Jan. 14,1830,recorded in Deed Book A,Part II, Deed Book 288,p.290. pp. 374-375.Publicly recording this trust enabled Elizabeth 15 Jane Livingston and John Beardsley, Black Folk Art in America, Arbuckle Gudgell to establish ownership of her slaves when she 1930-1980(Jackson: University Press of Mississippi and Center moved from Kentucky to Missouri. Based on the ages listed in this for the Study ofSouthern Culture, published for Corcoran Gallery document and the date it was originally filed, Henry Gudgell must ofArt, 1982), p.29. have been born in 1829 rather than in 1826,as is inscribed on his 16 Ibid., p.27. gravestone at the Utica, Mo.,cemetery and given by other Gudgell 17 Regenia A.Perry compares the two walking sticks in her essay researchers. "African Art and African-American Folk Art,"op. cit., pp. 39-41. 4 Ray County,Mo.,Clerk's Office,Deed Book B,pp.97-98, 18 Thompson,op. cit., pp. 127-128. shows that the Jan. 14,1830,Trust Indenture originally recorded 19 These two meetings were documented by reporter David in Anderson County, Ky., was again recorded in Ray County on Kinnamon for the Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune CXL,I,no. 155 Aug.9, 1832. (Aug.5,2002).



For the very first time, both walking sticks made by Henry Gudgell are exhibited under the same roof. The Speed Art Museum (502/634-2700; www. Louisville, Kentucky, has been showcasing the "other" walking stick, from Anna and Allan Weiss's collection, in its Kentucky galleries since July 2008, while the first known walking stick will be on view through January 4,2009, in the exhibition "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: Art and the American Experience, 1600-1893,from the Yale University Art Gallery."

sanford smith's 17th annual

outsider art fair 2oo9 NEW DATES

january 9- 11 friday 1 1 am - 8pm saturday 1 1 am - 8pm sunday 1 1 am - 7pm


the mart 7 west 34th street, new york city

opening night preview

outsider visionary intuitive

january 8 outsider art week presented by american folk art museum information: 212.265.1040 x 102

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sanford I. smith & associates 212.777.5218






GALA BENEFIT PREVIEW Wednesday evening, January 21 LOCATION The Metropolitan Pavilion 125 West 18th Street, NYC (between 6th and 7th Avenues)

SHOW HOURS Thursday I 11 Am-8 PM Friday I 11 Am-8 PM Saturday I 11 Am-8 PM Sunday I Noon-5 PM




M. Finkel & Daughter

American Primitive Gallery

Finnegan Gallery

Artemis Gallery

Pat & Rich Garthoeffner Antiques


John Keith Russell Antiques, Inc.

Allan Katz Americana

Stephen Score, Inc.

Gemini Antiques Ltd.

Keny Galleries

Spencer Marks

Greg Kramer

Gary R. Sullivan Antiques

Marcy Burns American Indian Arts

Russ and Karen Goldberger/ RJG Antiques

Judith & James Milne


Leah Gordon Antiques

Stephen B. O'Brien Jr.

Clifford A. Wallach

Cherry Gallery

Carl Hammer Gallery

Odd Fellows Art & Antiques

Charles and Rebekah Clark

Harvey Art & Antiques

Peyton Wright Gallery

Woodard & Greenstein American Antiques

David Cook Fine American Art

The Herrs

S. Scott Powers Antiques


Samuel Herrup Antiques

Peter H. Eaton

Hill Gallery

Raccoon Creek Antiques at Oley Forge, LLC

Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques Joan R. Brownstein

Ned Jalbert: American Indian Masterworks

Ricco/Maresca Gallery Stella Rubin

EDUCATIONAL SERIES THURSDAY A PREVIEW TOUR OF TAAS WITH CURATOR STACY C. HOLLANDER Thursday, January 22 9:30 Am--11 AM at TAAS $80 general, $65 members, seniors, and students, includes a light breakfast » A tour of TAAS highlights before the show opens to the public, led by the museum's senior curator

SATURDAY A DIALOGUE AND TOUR OF TAAS WITH CURATOR LEE KOGAN Saturday, January 24 9:30 AM--11 AM at TAAS $55 general, $50 members, seniors, and students, includes a light breakfast >> A discussion and tour of TAAS with the museum's curator of special exhibitions

FRIDAY INSIDER'S DAY OF ART AND ANTIQUES: EXCLUSIVE TOURS AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS Friday, January 23 9:30 AM $135 museum members only >> A daylong excursion including a private home collection visit, a curatorial museum tour, an insider's view of TAAS with curator Lee Kogan, and more

WHAT IS IT? WHAT IS IT WORTH? APPRAISAL DAY Sponsored by Country Living magazine Saturday, January 24 9:30 Am-11 AM at TAAS $45 general, $40 members, seniors, and students, includes a light breakfast >> An opportunity for show visitors to learn what their objects are worth, featuring renowned experts Helaine Fendelman, David Gallager, and Jane Willis

Lunch is not included in the ticket price, and the itinerary is subject to change. To register or for more information, please call 212. 977. 7170, ext. 328, or e-mail Christine Corcoran at WHAT'S CONTEMPORARY AT TAAS? A TOUR WITH CURATOR BROOKE DAVIS ANDERSON Friday, January 23 9:30 Am-11 AM at TAAS $55 general, $50 members, seniors, and students, includes a light breakfast >> A tour of material by self-taught artists with the director and curator of the museum's Contemporary Center

Daily admission $18, includes show catalog and two-for-one admission to the museum. Group rates available. A café will be open during show hours.

To reserve tickets or for more information, please visit, e-mail taas®, or call 212. 977.7170, ext. 319.


FAME WEATHERVANE (detail)/ attributed to

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E.G. Washburne & Company / New York / c.1890 / copper and zinc with gold leaf / 39 "35 3/4 k 23 1/2" / American Folk Art Museum, gift of Ralph Esmerian, 2005.8.62 / photo by Gavin Ashworth THE AMERICAN

TAAS is managed by Karen DiSaia






he following titles are available at the American Folk Art Museum's Book and Gift Shop at 45 West 53rd Street, New York City. To order, please call 212/265-1040,ext. 124. Museum members receive a 10 percent discount.* American Folk Art Museum titles


Rare Out-of-Print Titles Available *Revisiting Ammi Phillips: Fifty Years of American Portraiture, Stacy C. Hollander and Howard P. Fel-4, American Folk Art Museum,1994,80 pages, $200 arly 19th-century American portrait painter Ammi Phillips is recognized as one of the most important and prolific artists of his era. This companion catalog to the 1994 exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum features lush color plates, a foreword by Gerard C. Wertkin, and essays by curator Stacy C. Hollander and Mary Black, as well as a comprehensive artist's chronology and a detailed checklist of Phillips portraits compiled by research curator Howard P. Fertig. From the initial limited print run of 200 clothbound copies, the museum's Book and Gift Shop has a few pristine, hand-numbered books for sale. Spiritually Moving: A Collection of American Folk Art Sculpture, Tom Geismar and Harvey Kahn, Harry N. Abrams, 1998,160 pages, $300 he work of graphic designer 'piritually Moving Tom Geismar and folk art expert Harvey Kahn,this oversize (17'h x 41 101114i, ... 12'h") volume features selections from David Teiger's outstanding collection. The dramatic photography by Dave Hoffman, often reproduced on twopage spreads, allows close examination of the artworks. Weathervanes are the primary focus, but decoys, figureheads, and other freestanding sculpture are included as well. Accompanying the book is a 16-page supplement with detailed descriptions, designed to be used side by side with the images in the main volume. The museum's Book and Gift Shop has a few shrinkwrapped copies ofthis hard-to-find, slipcovered edition for sale.


FALL 2008


African American Vernacular Photography:

Bold Improvisation: Searching for African American Quilts;

Selections from

The Heffley

the Daniel Cowin

Collection, Scott Heffley, Kansas City Star Books, 2007,128 pages,$29.95

Collection, Brian Wallis

and Deborah Willis,International Center ofPhotography/Steidl, 2005,120 pages,$25 * American Anthem: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum, Stacy C. Hollander,Brooke Davis Anderson,and Gerard C. Wertkin, American Folk Art Museum/Harry N.Abrams,2001, 432 pages,$65 * American Folk Marquetry: Masterpieces in Wood,

Richard Miihlberger, American Folk Art Museum,1998,240 pages,$65 * American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum,

Stacy C. Hollander, American Folk Art Museum/Harry N. Abrams,2001,572 pages,$75 * The Art of Nellie Mae Rowe: Ninety-Nine and a Half Won't Do,

Lee Kogan,American Folk Art Museum/ University Press of Mississippi, 1998,112 pages, $30

Capturing Nature: The Cement Sculpture of Dionicio


Rodriguez, Patsy Pittman Light, Texas A8dVI University Press, 2008,152 pages,$30 * Darger: The Henry Darger Collection at the American Folk Art Museum,Brooke Davis

Anderson,American Folk Art Museum/Harry N.Abrams,2001, 128 pages,$29.95 Diamonds and Bars: The Art of the Amish People,

Florian Hufnagl, ed., Arnoldsche Verlagsanstalt,2007,116 pages, $75 Earl Cunningham's America,

Wendell Garrett, Virginia Mecklenburg, and Carolyn Weekley, Smithsonian American Art Museum,2007, 160 pages,$45 Expressions of

Blackstock's Collections: The

Innocence and Eloquence: Selections from the Jane

Drawings of an Artistic Savant, Gregory L.

Katcher Collection of Americana,Jane Katcher,

Blackstock,Princeton Architectural Press, 2006,144 pages,$19.95

David A. Schorsch,and Ruth Wolfe,eds.,Yale University Press, 2006,428 pages,1.75




Folk Art in Maine: Uncommon Treasures, 17501925, Kevin D.

LaPorte, Indiana, Jason

Murphy,ed.,Down East Books,2008,144 pages,$35 Folk Art Needlepoint: 20 Projects Adapted from Objects in the American Folk Art Museum,Ruth

Bitner, Princeton Architectural Press, 2006,192 pages, $19.95 The Life and Art of Jimmy Lee Sudduth,

Susan Mitchell Crawley, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts/River City Publishing,2005, 96 pages,$29.95

Peltason, Potter Craft,2008, 144 pages,$35 From Shaker Lands and Shaker Hands: A Survey of the Industries,

Now Is Then: Snapshots from the Maresca Collection,

The Shipcarvers' Art: Figureheads and Cigar-Store Indians in Nineteenth-Century America, Ralph

Marvin Heiferman, Princeton Architectural Press,2008,192 pages, $29.95

Sessions,Princeton University Press,2005,240 pages,$75

* The Perfect Game: America Looks at Baseball, Elizabeth V.

Silk Stocking Mats: Hooked Rugs of the Grenfell Mission,

Warren,American Folk Art Museum/ Harry N.Abrams,2003, 150 pages, $29.95

Paula Laverty, McGill Queen's University Press,2005,192 pages,$44.95

* Martin Ramirez,

M.Stephen Miller, University Press of New England,2007,208 pages, $29.95 * Gilded Lions and Jeweled Horses: The Synagogue to the Carousel, Murray

Zimiles, University Press of New England &Brandeis University Press/ American Folk Art Museum, 2007,192 pages,$40

Gains West! Sandi Fox and Roderick Kiracofe, Giles/Smithsonian American Art Museum,2007, 144 pages,$45

ilk .4

James Castle/ Walker Evans: Word-play, Signs and Symbols, Stephen


Wastfall, Knoedler & Company,2006, 60 pages, $20




Sound and Fury: The Art of Henry Darger,

A Place in Time: The Shakers at Sabbathday Lake, Maine, Stephen

Martin Ramirez: The Last Works,

Guion Williams and Gerard C.Wertkin, David R. Godine,2006,96 pages, $18.95

Pomegranate Communications, Inc./Ricco-Maresca Gallery,2008,164 pages, $39.95

The Potter's Eye: Art and Tradition in North Carolina, Mark Hewitt

Mingering Mike: The Amazing Career of an Imaginary Soul Superstar, Dori

Going West! Quilts and Community,


Brooke Davis Anderson,Marquand Books/American Folk Art Museum,2007, 192 pages, $55

Hadar, Neil Strauss, and Jane Livingston,Princeton Architectural Press,2007, 192 pages,$24.95 Modern Hooked Rugs,

Linda Rae Coughlin, Schiffer Publishing, 2007,176 pages, $29.95

and Nancy Sweezy, University of North Carolina Press,2005, 336 pages,$39.95 Sacred and Profane: Voice and Vision in Southern Self-Taught Art, Carol Crown and


Edward M. Gomez,Andrew Edlin Gallery,2006,74 pages, $35 Sublime Spaces and Visionary Worlds: Built Environments of Vernacular Artists, Leslie

Umberger,Erika Doss,and Ruth Kohler, eds., Princeton Architectural Press,2007; 416 pages,$65 •\ \\


Charles Russell, eds., University Press of Mississippi,2007,312 pages, $50

* Tools of Her Ministry: The Art of Sister Gertrude Morgan,

William A.Fagaly, American Folk Art Museum/Rizzoli,2004, 120 pages,$35

Shaker Design: Out of This World,

Jean Burks,Yale University Press, 2008,320 pages, $80






Fall Benefit, October 16, 2007

"Gilded Lions and Jeweled Horses" Opening Reception, October 1, 2007

Director emeritus Gerard C. Werfkin (left) and Tom L. Freudenheim

Trustee Lucy Cullman Danzige (left) and Wendy Lehman Lash Sam Waterston (left) and trustee emeritus Ralph 0. Esmerian

Phyllis Kossoff and Jan Willem van Bergen Henegouwen

Daniel Doctoroff and Stacy C. Hollander Rabbi Able Ingber (left) and Murray Zimiles

From left: Lynne Ditman, Penny Katz, and executive director Maria Ann Conelli

Auctioneers Leigh Keno and Leslie Keno

,Susan Flamm

From left: Rita Fried, Rabbi David A. Whiman, and Dr. Marvin Fried



From left: Dana Cowin, trustee and honoree Joyce B. Cowin, and trustee Taryn Gottlefavitt

From left: Kim J. Hartswick, deputy director Linda Dunne, Tim Gunn, and executive director Maria Ann ConeIli


Honoree Edgar M. Cullman Sr. and Louise Cullman

Jerry and Susan Lauren

The American Antiques Show Benefit Preview, January 16, 2008 Barbara L. Gordon and trustee Barry D Briskin

Trustee Lucy Cullman Danziger (left) and Rebecca Gamzon

From left: Lisa Cholnoky, trustee Selig D. Sacks, and Angela Sacks earrk•$7

Barbara Krashes (left) and Kay and George Meyer

Honoree Richard D. Parsons (left) and Raymond J. McGuire




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Outsider Art Fair Benefit Preview, January 24, 2008 .Marcy Carsey (left) and executive director Maria Ann C

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"Asa Ames" and "Dargerism" Opening Reception, April 14, 2008 From left: Stacy C. Hollander, Linda Ames McDonough, Chloe B. Jones, Susan Farrar, Mike Farrar, and Carol Baumeister

Alli.j4111 From left: trustee emeritus Samuel Farber, Betsey Farber, and Mark Leavitt

Brooke Davis Anderson (left) and Robyn O'Neil Trustee Selig D. Sacks and Bettina Klinger

From left: board president Laura Parsons, trustee emerita Frances Sirota Martinson, and Grayson Perry

Katie Hush (left) and Christine Corcoran




Laura Lee (left) and Julie Schumaker





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n Oct. 30,2007,the museum celebrated the reopening ofits Lincoln Square branch with a champagne reception in honor of trustee Joyce B. Cowin and trustee emerita Frances Sirota Martinson, without whose generous gifts the renovation and revitalization ofthe gallery would not have been possible. Since then,the museum has been presenting a full roster ofexhibitions and educational programs at the refurbished space.The inaugural exhibition,"A Legacy in Quilts: Cyril Irwin Nelson's Final Gifts to the American Folk Art Museum,"ran through Feb.24 and was followed by"Earl Cunningham's America," a retrospective ofthe artist organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum,Washington,D.C., that was on view from March 4 to Aug.31.The current exhibition, "Recycling & Resourcefulness: Quilts of the 1930s," will remain on view through March 15,2009.The show features 12 quilts from the collection ofthe International Quilt Study Center &Museum,University of Nebraska—Lincoln,that were created with recycled fabrics during the Depression, as well as works from the museum's collection that repurpose available materials into new art forms. On continuous view is the 9/11 National Tribute Quilt, the powerful response of the Steel Qfilters of United States Steel Corporation to the events of Sept. 11,2001. Joyce Cowin's generous gift also supports the newly created position of gallery manager. Mary Anne Caton joined the museum in the fall of2007 and has been implementing an active schedule of programs, events, and community outreach at the Lincoln Square branch.



Executive director Maria Ann Conelli and Michael A. Mennello

New York City council member Gale Brewer

Trustee Elizabeth V. Warren

Mary Anne Caton

Trustee Jacqueline Fowler (left) and Stagy C. Hollander Dale Gregory (left) and Ann-Marie Reilly •„




TEEN DOCENT TAPE n the spring of2008,students from the Talent Unlimited High School in New York City who are enrolled in a condensed version ofthe Teen Docent Program transformed the museum's classroom into a unique work of art. Inspired by selftaught artists who use humble materials in their creations, they used blue painter's tape to cover one of the walls with a temporary mural featuring each student's


MURAL likeness.The work was filled with intricate detail, from the zipper on a hooded sweatshirt to elaborately curly hair that seemed to jump offthe wall.The project complemented the teens'gallery experiences, during which they learned about the collection and strategies for guiding tours for other teens. The class was taught by docents Lenore Blank, Carol Gruber,and Roberta Krakoff.

Tape mural by the museum's artistic Teen Docents

GRAYSON PERRY LECTURE his year's annual Nathan work in the legendary 1979 show Lerner Memorial Lecture "Outsiders" at London's Hayward was delivered by the British Gallery, and it had a profound efartist and 2003 Turner Prize win- fect on him. ner Grayson Perry, who works in The event, held on April 16, video, photography,embroidery, was a rare opportunity to hear large-scale maps, and pottery,for this articulate, engaging speaker which he is best known.Two of discuss the complexities of his life his pots, which combine classiand artistic journey, his sources cally shaped,richly decorative ofinspiration, and his technical surfaces with disquieting themes process. Appearing as his alter such as violence, death, abuse, ego, Claire, Perry wore a colorful materialism, and sexual deviasmocklike dress with contrasting tion, were on view at the museum ruffled bloomers topped by a in the exhibition "Dargerism: teddy-bear necklace artfully deContemporary Artists and Henry signed by one of his students. Darger." Perry first saw Darger's


PUBLICATIONS AWARDS wo museum publications were bestowed with awards in the last year. Gilded Lions and Jeweled Horses: The Synagogue to the Carousel, the catalog accompanying the museum's acclaimed exhibition, won the 2007 National Jewish Book Award in the category Visual Arts. Author and exhibition curator Murray Zimiles accepted the honor on March 4, 2008,during a ceremony at the Center for Jewish History in New York.The book was copublished with Brandeis University Press, an imprint of the University Press of New England. The museum's 2007 wall calendar,A Year ofFolk Art Quilts, was selected as a winner ofthe 2008 Museum Publications Design Competition organized by the American Association of Museums.Produced in kind by Barbara Lovenheim's BIL Charitable Trust and designed by Susan Huyser,it was awarded the second prize in the category Calendars.


FAMILIES AND FOLK ART ast March,the museum tours in the galleries, participants launched Families and Folk enjoy hands-on artmaking activiArt, a newly redesigned proties inspired by the objects they gram for drop-in visitors to the have examined. museum. Held the first Saturday Reservations are not required. ofevery month from 1 to 2:30 PM, Participants meet at 1 PM these programs offer children ages at the admission desk. For more 4 to 12 and their adult companinformation, please contact ions an opportunity to explore Jennifer Kalter, manager ofschool and discuss folk art in a warm and and family programs, at 212/ engaging environment with other 265-1040,ext. 148,or family visitors of different ages and vary- ing museum-going experiences. After interactive, discussion-based


RECENT DONORS TO THE COLLECTION he museum is grateful to the following friends who have recently donated objects to the permanent collection: Altria Group,Inc.; Marcia Anscher; Anna Nelson Cruz; David L. Davies; Peter Dek Dusinberre III, Lynn Dusinberre, Jill Dusinberre Hickman & Kaitlyn Hickman Dolan;Sam & Betsey Farber;Jane Ferrara; Jacqueline Loewe Fowler; Charlotte Frank; Mark and Laura Goldman; Grassroots Arts and Community Efforts; Ruth Hartshorne; ICristina Johnson; May Jones; Nancy F. Green Karlins &Mark Thoman; Elinor M.Knapp;Jay Koment; Mary Koto; Betty Kuyk; Bruce Lineker; George Meyer; Gloria Bley Miller; David T Owsley & Sam Meredith Family/AlcondaOwsley Foundation;J. Randall Plummer &Harvey S. Shipley Miller; Dorothea & Leo Rabkin; Rev. Alfred R. Shands; Mr.& Mrs. Alan Weinstein; George Widener; and Susan Yecies.



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FALL 2008










Master Furniture Maker H ERBERT SINGLETON (1945-2007) erbert Singleton, a carver of polychrome wooden sculptures, died oflung cancer on July 25,2007,in his native New Orleans. In the 1970s, he began to carve ceremonial canes and other objects from branches and the stumps offallen trees. Singleton's works focus on complex contemporary social and political issues such as the poverty, drugs, and violence that permeated his community,but he also created friezes and bas-reliefs depicting parades,voodoo rituals, and biblical narratives. J IMMY LEE SUDDUTH (1910-2007) immy Lee Sudduth,an artist best known for the textured paintings he created utilizing varieties of mud,died on Sept. 2,2007, in Fayette, Ala. Sudduth devised his own paint media by mixing mud in dozens of different shades and textures with pantry items such as cola, honey, molasses,sugar, coffee grounds, tobacco,and other ingredients,such as berries. Sudduth used his fingers to apply this "paint" to scrap lumber,sheet metal, and, most often, plywood. His expressive works typically depict animals,farm scenes, and vernacular houses. Sudduth also created numerous portraits and self-portraits. In 2005,the Montgomery Museum of Art organized a retrospective of his works. Sudduth was profiled in the winter 1993/1994 issue ofFolk Art.


NORA McKEOWN EZELL (1917-2007) enowned quiltmaker Nora McKeown Ezell died of a stroke on Sept. 6,2007,in Eutaw, Ala. Ezell often worked with recycled feed and flour sacks and took special pleasure in refashioning traditional patterns and creating her own designs.They are personal,biblical, and historical pictorial narratives whose bold color, asymmetry, and improvisational techniques reflect African aesthetics. Her dazzling Star Quilt in the American Folk Art Museum's collection is a masterpiece of design and technical virtuosity.

R When originals are not available History and artistry in wood 17th and 18th century American furniture Reproductions

240 Lewis Creek Drive Ferrisburgh, VT 05456


Please call 802.425.6070

REX CLAWSON (1929-2007) ex Clawson,known for his boldly patterned, brightly colored paintings exploring political and social satire, died on Oct. 18,2007, from complications of pancreatic cancer in his hometown of Dallas. As a child, he was inspired by the work of popular magazine illustrators, especially Jon Whitcomb. Clawson's paintings were shown in various New York galleries, such as ACA Galleries, Allan Stone Gallery, and Kmiedler &Company,and he moved to the city in the early 1950s.






ROSEMARIE KOCZY (1939-2007) osemarie Koczy,a Holocaust survivor, died on Dec. 12,2007,in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. Koczy created tapestries for 15 years, producing more than 70 major weavings, until she shifted focus to drawing and,later, sculpture. Starting in the mid-1970s,she executed more than 12,000 pen-and-ink drawings, many of them depicting tortured victims in the camps she had survived as a child. Her shroudlike drawings oftwisted, attenuated figures in densely textured backgrounds served as a memorial for the people she had seen perish and as a healing mechanism for herself


GORDON BRINCKLE (1915-2007) ordon Brinckle, the creator of his own private movie theater and subject of the 2003 documentary The Projectionist, died on Dec. 18,2007, at his home in Middletown, Del. After having apprenticed with a theater decorator, he built a small cinema in the basement of his parents' home in 1933. While serving in the army during World War II, he fulfilled his dream of being a projectionist and showed training films to U.S. troops. After the war,while making a living working at the Everett Theatre in Middletown,Brinckle built a lavish 1920s-style movie palace in the basement of his home. He even printed tickets and designed usher uniforms. Curiously, he had no interest in the movies themselves. Brinckle was profiled in the fall 2006 issue ofFolk Art.



MARY BORKOWSKI (1916-2008) ary Borkowski, best known for her silkthread embroideries, died on March 9, 2008,in Beaver Creek, Ohio. She was also a painter and a quiltmaker; she learned to quilt and sew from her mother and grandmother. While her thread technique was precise, Borkowski never thought of her embroidered narratives as decorative. Her social commentary often reflected the adversity she experienced throughout her life, but her darker narratives are laced with humor.

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Mary Michael Shelley 607-272-5700

The American Folk Art Museum Is grateful to the following friends who provided generous support during the year July 1, 2007-June 30, 2008:

Guard Dogs by Campfire, #7

$50.000 & Up Edward V. Blanchard Jr. Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund Barry D.Briskin Carnegie Corporation of New York Joyce B. Cowin Louise 8c Edgar M.Cullman Lucy &Frederick M.Danziger Deutsche Bank Jacqueline Fowler Patricia Geoghegan Hearst Corporation Robert & Marjorie Hirschhorn Horace W.Goldsmith Foundation Joan M.8c Victor L.Johnson The]. Paul Getty Trust Leir Charitable Foundations in memory of Henry J.& Erna D.Leir National Endowment for the Arts Donald 8c Sue Newhouse New York City Department ofCultural Affairs New York State Council on the Arts Laura 8c Richard Parsons The Ridgefield Foundation Time Warner Barbara &John Wilkerson William Randolph Hearst Foundation

www.maryshelleyfolkart.COM Painted low relief woodcarvings since 1973 1111111111,



$20,000-$49,999 Didi & David Barrett The Blanche &Irving Laurie Foundation The Chubb Corporation Citigroup Joseph M.Cohen Cravath, Svraine 8c Moore LLP Raffaelle & Alberto Cribiore Dorothy &Lewis B. Cullman David L.Davies &Jack Weeden The Derald H. Ruttenberg Foundation Vivian &Strachan Donnelley The Estee Lauder Companies,Inc. Audrey B.Heckler Barbara &Thomas C.Israel John Randall Plummer Family Foundation ICekst and Company Incorporated Luise & Robert Kleinberg Phyllis L. Kossoff Jerry & Susan Lauren Taryn 8c. Mark Leavitt Frances Sirota Martinson Connie &Andrew McElwee Agnes Nixon The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation Margaret Robson Angela & Selig Sacks Donna 8c Marvin Schwartz Sy Sternberg,chairman and CEO,New York Life Insurance Company Bonnie &Tom Strauss Kathleen &John Ullmann Elizabeth V.8c Irwin H.Warren $10,000-$19,999 ACA Capital Becky 8c Bob Alexander Allen &Overy American Express Bingham McCutchen LLP Bloomberg The Bloomingdale's Fund ofthe Macy's Foundation Marc & Laurene ICrasny Brown The Brown Foundation,Inc. Cleary Gottlieb Steen &Hamilton LLP Con Edison Credit Suisse The David Berg Foundation Davis Polk &Wardwell Margot&John Ernst Ralph 0.Esmerian Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver &Jacobson LLP Marilyn Friedman &Thomas Block Robert L.Froelich Katherine &Clifford H.Goldsmith

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THE SEDUCTION OF LIGHT Ammi PhiLLips I Mark Rothko Compositions in Pink, Green, and Red






THE SEDUCTION OF Ammi Phitlips 1 Mark Rothko Compositions in Pink, Green, and Red Stacy C. Hollander With a foreword by Maria Ann Conelli and an essay by Bonnie Clearwater

American Folk Art Museum New York

Copyright © 2008 American Folk Art Museum, New York. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the museum. Published in conjunction with the exhibition "The Seduction of Light: Ammi Phillips I Mark Rothko Compositions in Pink, Green, and Red," presented October 7,2008—March 29,2009, at the American Folk Art Museum,New York. Support provided by the David Berg Foundation and the Robert Lehman Foundation Published in 2008 by American Folk Art Museum 45 West 53rd Street New Yorlc, NY 10019 MIN Edited by Mareike Grover and Tanya Heinrich Copyedited by Paul Farrell Designed by Jeffrey W.Kibler Color separations by The Magazine Group,Washington,D.C. Produced by The Magazine Group,Washington, D.C. Printed and bound in the United States of America by Publishers Press Cover: No. 1,Mark Rothko,1961 (see page 24) Harriet Leavens (detail), Ammi Phillips, c. 1815 (see page 21,left) Photo Credits: Michael Agee © Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute,Williamstown, Massachusetts: page 21 (right) Gavin Ashworth: pages 25 (left),27(top left) Image courtesy the Board ofTrustees, National Gallery of Art,Washington,D.C.: cover(top) and pages 17(top and bottom),20,24,26 Bruce M.White Photography © Trustees of Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey: page 22 Phillip Dutton: pages 25 (right),27(bottom left) Imaging Department © President and Fellows of Harvard College, Cambridge,Massachusetts: cover (bottom) and page 21 (left) Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: pages 16,28 John Parnell: page 27(top right) S.S.RS.A.E. e peril Polo museale della citta di Firenze—Gabinetto Fotografico: page 12 Courtesy Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago: page 27(bottom right)


Peter and Barbara Goodman

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

National Gallery of Art,Washington,D.C.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Princeton University Art Museum,Princeton, New Jersey

Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts

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Stacy C. Hollander is the senior Bonnie Clearwater is the curator and director of executive director and chief exhibitions at the American curator ofthe Museum of Folk Art Museum,New York. Contemporary Art, North She has served as curator Miami,and the former of numerous exhibitions curator of The Mark Rothko at the museum,including Foundation,Inc., New York. "Asa Ames: Occupation Among her publications are Sculpturing"(2008),"White The Rothko Book (2006),Frank on White (and a little gray)" Stella at 2000: Changing the Rules(1999),David Smith: (2006),"Surface Attraction: Painted Furniture from the Stop/Action (1998),Defining Collection"(2005),"Blue" the Nineties: Consensus-Making (2004),"American Radiance: in New York, Miami,and Los The Ralph Esmerian Gift Angeles(1996), West Coast to the American Folk Art Duchamp (1991),Edward Museum"(2001, with catalog), Ruscha: Words Without and "Harry Lieberman: A Thoughts Never to Heaven Journey of Remembrance" Go(1988), and Mark Rothko: (1991, with catalog); and Works on Paper(1984). as project coordinator of "Gilded Lions and Jeweled Horses:The Synagogue to the Carousel"(2007, with catalog) and cocurator, with Brooke Davis Anderson,of"American Anthem: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum"(2002,with catalog). She is the coauthor, with Howard P. Fertig, of Revisiting Ammi Phillips: Fifty Years ofAmerican Portraiture (1994). Hollander lectures and publishes widely and is a frequent contributor to Folk Art. She received her BA from Barnard College, Columbia University, and her MA in American folk art studies from New York University


Maria Ann Conelli is the executive director ofthe American Folk Art Museum.She was previously dean ofthe School of Graduate Studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and, prior to that, chair of the Smithsonian Institution's graduate programs in the History of Decorative Arts in New York and Washington, D.C. Conelli holds a PhD in architectural history from Columbia University and a master's degree from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She has been the recipient of numerous awards,including the J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History ofArt and the Humanities, and is a fellow ofthe American Academy in Rome. Conelli has taught in the United States and in Europe,organized exhibitions, and lectured widely on sixteenth- and seventeenthcentury architecture and landscape design.


Foreword Maria Ann ConeIli


Acknowledgments Stacy C. Hollander


The Seduction of Light: Ammi Phillips I Mark Rothko Compositions in Pink, Green, and Red Stacy C. Hollander


Mark Rothko: The Training of a Future Artist Bonnie Clearwater




Plate Captions/Checklist of the Exhibition




ourteen years have passed since the American Folk Art Museum last mounted an exhibition of works by the portrait painter Ammi Phillips.The artist's masterpiece, Girl in Red Dress with Cat and Dog(1830-1835),is one ofthe jewels in the museum's collection and has been on permanent display since the opening ofits new building in 2001. Stacy C. Hollander,the museum's senior curator and director ofexhibitions, has studied Phillips's use ofcolor and the interplay oflight and dark in his paintings for more than two decades. Over the years, she detected striking parallels in the works by this nineteenth-century master and those by the twentieth-century abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko."The Seduction of Light: Ammi Phillips I Mark Rothko Compositions in Pink, Green,and Red"is the first exhibition to showcase paintings by both artists side by side and explore the themes ofcolor and light. The American Folk Art Museum is deeply grateful to the institutional and private lenders to this exhibition. Special thanks are also extended to Bonnie Clearwater, executive director and chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami,for sharing her insights into Mark Rothko and his work on the pages of this publication. I would like to sincerely thank the staff ofthe American Folk Art Museum who played a role in the creation ofthe exhibition, especially Stacy C. Hollander,who continues to challenge the way in which we look at the artists in our collection. Maria Ann Conelli Executive Director,American Folk Art Museum



hen I was newly graduated from college, one of my first jobs was as a paste-up artist in a religious greeting-card company called Reproducta.The company,owned by the Schulhofs, a family of German Jews,operated in many ways as a patriarchal system. It was largely run by Ronald Schulhof, the second eldest son who tragically died in a small-plane crash while I was with the company,and his younger brother,Thomas (known to all as Tommy).The staff was international, with members from Armenia, Latvia, and Russia.The art department did not see much of the senior Schulhof, Rudolph, by then,though he visited briefly most days.The Schulhofs conducted life in an old-fashioned and formal manner. The office had a fully equipped kitchen, a cook who prepared multicourse lunches, and a dining room with a large rectangular table in the center. Each day, at around the same time, the sons, and usually the father, would gather in the dining room,and the cook would serve the menu ofthe day. Ofcourse,the room was off-limits to the staff during that hour or two. But at other times of the day it was necessary to penetrate this sanctum, as it also stored items the art department regularly needed.The room had a magical secret, and I took every opportunity to enter its hallowed space. Hanging on the wall over the buffet at one end was a shimmering painting. I can't quite recall exactly what it looked like—I have a lingering vision in my mind of glowing rosy-orange hues,though it might as easily have been a radically different color.The memory ofthe painting hums in my brain as though I am seeing it through bright sunlight with a haze of motes dancing in the beams.I can't focus on it and it disturbs the air around it. But it hummed all those years ago and continues to resound in my brain today. That was my first personal encounter with a painting by Mark Rothko.The previous path I had swathed through art history started at the Pompeian rooms at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and traveled to Matisse's Red Studio in the Museum of Modern Art and Fra Angelico's frescoes, whose angels I daily tipped onto cards in the course of my work at Reproducta.It is no surprise, therefore, that Rothko was next on the road. I did not become aware of the work of Ammi Phillips until several years later, when I was a graduate student. My own artwork was heavily inspired by medieval illumination, and the declarative colors of Phillips's Girl in Red Dress with Cat and Dog spoke to my heart as insistently as the books of hours I admired through plate glass in the Morgan Library The portraits of Harriet Campbell and Harriet Leavens, which I came to know later, were a revelation and evoked the same hazy dizziness as Rothko's enormous canvases. Early in my work at the American Folk Art Museum,it became a dream to bring these two artists together, and I would like to thank and acknowledge the many people who made this dream an actuality My colleagues at the museum are always a joy to work with, starting with the enthusiastic support of Maria Ann Conelli, executive director; Linda Dunne,deputy director; and Robin A. Schlinger, chieffinancial officer. I regularly look to Susan Flamm,public relations director; Brooke Davis Anderson,director and curator ofthe Contemporary Center at the museum; and Lee Kogan,curator of public programs and special exhibitions,for insight and guidance, which


they unfailingly provide. I rely on the inestimable skills ofAnn-Marie Reilly, chief registrar and director ofexhibition production,to bring a curator's vision to fruition, and she never disappoints. My appreciation to the staff whose efforts have contributed to this exhibition, publication, and related programming: Susan Conlon, assistant to the executive director; Pamela Gabourie, associate director of institutional giving; Sara Lasser, associate director ofeducation;Jennifer Kalter, manager of school and family programs;Jenifer P. Borum,Folk Art Studies coordinator; Richard Ho, manager ofinformation technology; and Nicole Whelan, manager of photographic services. A special note of gratitude is reserved for Tanya Heinrich, director of publications, and Mareike Grover, managing editor,for the care, thoughtfulness, and punctilious precision they bring to each publication under their aegis. I am indebted to Jeffrey W.Kibler of The Magazine Group for the handsome design of this catalog. Kate Johnson of DresserJohnson has brought her lovely touch to the exhibition graphics. I am honored to share space in these pages with the beautiful essay contributed by Bonnie Clearwater, executive director and chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami. I have long admired the clarity of her writings on Rothko and thank her for anointing this project with her deep association with his works.In this regard, I am indebted to Janey Fire and John Kalymnios, David Freberg, and Roberto Juarez for making the introduction to Bonnie Clearwater possible. The unusual nature of this exhibition demanded something of a leap offaith on the part ofthe lenders.The exhibition would not have been possible without the belief and participation ofthe National Gallery of Art,Washington, D.C.,which has generously loaned three paintings by Mark Rothko. My deep gratitude to Earl A.Powell III, director;Jeffrey Weiss,former head of the department of modern and contemporary art; Harry Cooper, head ofthe department of modern art; Lisa MacDougall, assistant loan officer; Veronica Betancourt, permanent-collections assistant, modern and contemporary art; Ruth Fine, curator of special projects in modern art; and Cathy A. Chavkin, corporate-relations associate.


I owe equal gratitude to my colleagues at the following institutions who have generously lent some ofthe most important paintings by Ammi Phillips to the exhibition: At the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts: Michael Conforti, director, who was instrumental in the initial phases ofthis project by supporting the loan ofthe sublime Harriet Campbell; Marc Simpson,curator of American art; and Sarah Lees,associate curator of European art. At the Metropolitan Museum ofArt, New York: Carrie Rebora Barratt, curator, American paintings and sculpture, and manager,The Henry R. Luce Center for the Study of American Art; Catherine Heroy, administrative assistant, department of nineteenth-century, modern,and contemporary art; and Dorothy Mahon,conservator. At the Philadelphia Museum ofArt: Kathleen A. Foster, Robert L. McNeil Jr. Senior Curator ofAmerican Art and director ofthe Center for American Art. At the Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, New Jersey: Karl E. Kusserow, assistant curator oflater Western art. My deep appreciation to the following individuals,some of whom are lending their beautiful and precious paintings to the exhibition, and others who have liberally given of their time, knowledge, and access to works by Ammi Phillips and Mark Rothko: Joe Baptista,PaceWildenstein, New York; Mike and Lucy Danziger; Consuelo W.Dutschke,PhD,executive director, Digital Scriptorium, and curator, medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, New York; Helen Fioratti; Richard and Irene Gachot; Peter and Barbara Goodman;Agnes Gund; Barbara Holdridge; Arabella Makari; Christopher Rothko; Denise and Andrew Saul; Peter Tillou; and Elizabeth V. Warren. Stacy C. Hollander Senior Curator and Director ofExhibitions, American Folk Art Museum


he soul-thirsting quest for the creation of"inner light," as Mark Rothko once termed it, has preoccupied artists for centuries.' Ammi Phillips(1788-1865) and Mark Rothko (1903-1970),two American masters disparate in time, place, and presentation, pursued this light through the "realm ofthe canvas" that held infinite possibilities for truth and illumination.' For Rothko,the surface ofa canvas presented limitless space to be explored with intrepidity into great distances and with mythic dramas enacted in each succeeding layer. Phillips did not penetrate the "mysterious recesses" ofthe canvas quite as deeply but worked closer to the surface in shimmering light-filled or velvety darkfilled spaces that seem to exist apart from the known world. In their paintings, both Phillips and Rothko opened portals to a dimension where form was suspended in an ether ofsuffused atmosphere,and where the mysticism oflight was coaxed into being primarily through the vehicle of color. For neither artist was color a simple tool to compose pleasing arrangements;instead it was a complex language ofits own,used to invent and investigate the depths offered by the deceptive flat plane ofthe canvas. Rothko was concerned that his use ofcolor in the classic paintings ofthe 1950s and 1960s would appear "decorative" despite their monumental scale, and this produces an intrinsic tension in the experience ofthe paintings. He explained that he worked on a large scale "precisely because I want to be very intimate and human." Some art historians relate the tremendous size ofthese canvases to philosopher Edmund Burke's theory ofthe sublime—"the mind... so entirely filled with its object, that it cannot entertain any other..."—effecting a sort of pretechnological omniverse of all-encompassing sensation.' Too,the scale recalls the sensate effect of wall and ceiling frescoes from antiquity,examples of which were recovered in archaeological excavations such as Pompeii and Herculaneum just prior to the time Ammi Phillips began to paint.The frescoes and other forms that were unearthed from these sites had a profound effect on the palette and imagery ofearly nineteenth-century arts in Europe and the United States and contributed to a neoclassical formulation that endures to the present. Some ofthese discoveries were accessible to Rothko through museum installations, most notably the cubiculum (bedroom)from the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale,Italy, at the Metropolitan Museum ofArt in New York. At times, Rothko's is a voracious, primal intimacy, perhaps akin to Burke's equation ofthe sublime with the violence of astonishment,"that state ofthe soul in which all its motions are suspended with some degree of horror."' Ammi Phillips relates a less tempestuous, more delicate humanity. In their bated and tender atmosphere, the early paintings, especially, seem to hold their breath,gently stirring the air around them with ripples of heartbreaking vulnerability and beauty. In our regard of paintings by Phillips or Rothko,then, we are mute,for words cannot grasp the ineffable stuff of which they are made. It is not known what training Ammi Phillips received as an artist, though we can trace his growing skill through the more than seven hundred canvases he painted between 1811 and his death in 1865.The Phillips family were mostly farmers and property owners in Colebrook, Connecticut,and later Colebrook, Ohio. Ammi Phillips was already painting portraits


professionally in the Berkshires,in Massachusetts,by the age of21,judging by two advertisements dated 1809 and 1810.6 The earliest extant canvases were painted in 1811,and though some ofPhillips's key themes are in place, the works themselves are awkward and immature.The portraits that came from his brush just a few years later, however, are miraculous and ethereal visions filled with transcendent light and beauty, as though Phillips had been touched by God in the intervening years. These early works are on a large scale, tall and rectangular to echo the forms offull-standing figures ofchildren. By the next decade and until the artist stopped painting in the 1860s,the size ofthe canvases became more modest, as Phillips changed his style to accommodate changing popular taste. Rothko conceived an original idiom in his classic paintings, yet they seem to pierce the membrane oftime,reaching back to an age of myth and beauty and finding elements of meaning to bring forward. His multiple iterations ofthe word apperception in his recently published manuscript, The Artist's Reality, acknowledges his debt to the past and his preoccupation with universal themes,but it does not contradict his stance that the artist "reflects the understandings of his times even as his creations shape those understandings." Early in the nineteenth century, Ammi Phillips shaped the understandings of his own day through prescient portraits that are visual poems linking the past and the present and anticipating the future. Without abandoning representation, Phillips pushed the limits well beyond the constraints of his time. He presaged a modern sensibility engaging with his materials to create gorgeous and encompassing fields of color. The translucent golden pinks and taupes ofthese early paintings derive from visions of antiquity that were prevalent in the neoclassical scheme.In these canvases, ethereal colors are barely distinguishable from one another—as though they have been blended by the brush oftime—and figures inhabit a diffiise space. By the 1820s,the paintings shift to a higher drama with greater clarity ofedge and opacity and deeper saturation and contrast ofcolor.The resultant duality ofbrilliant hues that burst through hazy darkness may express a sense of ambivalence noted by some scholars, as Phillips and other artists responded to the multivalent forces at play in the


early decades ofthe American national period,"poised between forces of modernization. .and forces of a conservative morality drawn from a Puritan egalitarian lineage."' The juxtaposition of dark and light and the expansive use of pure,raw color are also expressive of an aesthetic legacy ofthe Middle Ages: one cannot look at the iconic images ofchildren in red dresses without being reminded ofthe medieval aversion to mixing colors and concern with maintaining the integrity of precious pigments such as vermilion. Its rich, saturated color and great cost made vermilion, especially when applied in large flat areas, evidence of wealth that the donor would not want shrouded in shadow.In akhemical terms,its association with gold and the Philosopher's Stone added mystical import to its majesty.The repeated use of red in this group of paintings also harkens back to the chromatic certainty ofthe Middle Ages and the consistent association of particular colors with religious figures. Vermilion, as the most precious red pigment ofthe Middle Ages, was therefore appropriate for representing the robes of the Virgin Mary Phillips's promise to produce "perfect shadows," in the ads of 1809 and 1810,and his use of red to color innocent childhood may retain vestiges of this meaning,especially when seen in the guise of a mother and child, as in Mrs. Mayer and Daughter (page 28). Rothko described the canvases of his classic period in terms oftwo categories of painting: transparent, heavily brush-marked surfaces, and opaque, smooth surfaces with few obvious brushstrokes. Like Rothko,Phillips, too, moved fluidly between these two modes of painting. His early canvases,from around 1815,are transparent and light filled. He used a fairly coarse-woven linen and applied a thin layer of paint, usually ofa light color, that also became the final ground. At times he also used a glue size before applying the ground hue.This was sometimes scumbled over and tinted or toned with another color, as in the portraits of Harriet Campbell(page 21,right) and Frederick A. Gale(page 25,right). In both ofthese paintings, the white of,the rough-weave linen substrate bleeds through the lean layer of paint.This layered surface then receives the luminous pinks, earthy greens, and rich reds.The resulting topography of translucent washes and opaque areas in antique colors evoke the ruined surfaces of ancient Roman frescoes,

both in the ruggedness ofthe canvas's terrain and in the shimmering light it reflects.' In 1924,at the height ofthe ancestor worship promulgated by the Colonial Revival, portraits by Phillips that had long lain forgotten in ancestral homes were rediscovered and acclaimed, playing in the pages of art magazines.In 1960, a major article in Art in America illustrated several of his paintings spanning a career that lasted more than fifty years." We can know nothing ofthe thoughts or ambitions of Ammi Phillips, as he has left no written records,but the artist could not be aware ofthe light with which Rothko would infuse the world. Whether Rothko knew the work ofPhillips is unlikely but not inconceivable. Influenced by the modem fascination with "primitive" art and the art ofchildren, Rothko wrote extensively ofthe genuine nature ofsuch "unmediated" expressions.In 1942,the respected art dealer Sidney Janis published They Taught Themselves:American Primitive Painters ofthe 20th Century, which included an introduction by Alfred Barr,then director ofthe Museum ofModern Art, New York." Clearly an attempt to ride the wave ofinterest in the art ofsocalled primitive cultures,the celebration ofthe work ofsuch artists as Morris Hirshfield,John Kane,and Joseph Pickett provoked Rothko into an irritable— and still relevant—engagement with terminology articulated in The Artist's Reality. He also mounted a defense of his own emotional and intellectual rejection of representation and the search for universality in his paintings against the "charming" particularization of these artists, for whom every leaf and speck seemed to hold equal significance." One subtext of this ire was his disgruntlement with the popularity ofAmerican traditionalism and regionalism and a feeling that the primitive painters fed the critical taste for such works. Yet this umbrage at the "masters of popular painting" ignored the impact nineteenth-century folk portraiture had had on the previous generation of modem painters. Phillips's work,in particular, employed strikingly modern reductive strategies at a time when they were highly unconventional. Minimalist art and American folk portraiture both sought to rid themselves ofgesture, though the word may have held different implications in the two centuries.The portraits by Phillips that were best known at this time were those of his Kent period, painted during the 1830s and "finished

to the utmost nicety.""The timeless quality ofthe representations is achieved in part by an erasure of the artist's presence through surfaces that are virtually enameled to a glassy smoothness,eliminating the personality inherent in Phillips's brushstrokes and belying the virtuosity ofthe technique. Art and beauty were not antithetical to Rothko, who wrote ofthe portrayal of beauty through two types of portraiture: illusory and tactile. In the illusory mode,all elements in the picture contribute to the internal realism ofthe portrayal and the beauty ofthe individual portrayed.The aim ofthe tactile painting is more abstract: to create an entirely new entity—the painting—whose beauty comes from the painting as a whole rather than the particularity ofthe image.It is this second mode to which both Phillips and Rothko subscribed. Unlike the Renaissance painter whose use ofa vanishing point mimics an illusory space in a visual sleight of hand,Phillips and Rothko created profound and separate realities in which all the component parts contribute to a harmonious whole. Rothko's expression of beauty as "a reaction to rightness" and "a study in proportion" was consistent with a medieval approach to the aesthetics of beauty through proportion and light." St. Augustine asked,"What is beauty ofthe body? A harmony ofits parts with a certain pleasing color."" To the medieval mind,light— immaterial yet manifest—was the sole medium that negotiated between the spheres of heaven and earth. Color, as a by-product oflight, became a sanctioned means ofspiritual communion. Rothko was fascinated with the passage oflight through different mediums and how it affected the experience of color. In this, he invokes the ecstatic aesthetic oflight formulated by the medieval theologian and philosopher St. Bonaventure:"In the resurrected bodies of mankind,light will shine out with its four fundamental characteristics: clarity which illuminates, impassibility so that it cannot corrupt, agility so that it can travel instantaneously, and penetrability so that it can pass through transparent bodies."" At times, Rothko's experimentation with the suspension of rectangles ofcolor is literal rather than descriptive: the pigment on some canvases is so thinly dispersed in its medium that the granules separate and are trapped like insects in amber. He added dry pigments,chalk, and other materials to the ground color or to the size that


,W.M11111 "1,1411UPAYS1111.2.,,ttli'airAMMTIE ' 4411.":104 7.', - .

ANNUNCIATION Fra Angelico (Guido di Pietro)(1387/1400-1455) Florence, Italy C. 1437-1446 Fresco 90 1/2 x 1171/8" Museum of San Marco, Florence, Italy

he used as a foundation.The resultant mixture might be thinned to the extent that it functioned as a stain rather than an opaque layer. To this surface, Rothko might leave unpainted areas ofthe canvas exposed so that they, too, acted as a color element.In 1953, Rothko said,"Maybe you have noticed two characteristics exist in my paintings; either their surfaces are expansive and push outward in all directions, or their surfaces contract and rush inward in all directions. Between these two poles you can find everything I want to say."The force of Rothko's meaning becomes apparent in a canvas that bleeds red around the edges of black and white rectangles, suggesting that in an age when virtually unlimited color choice was available, Rothko was,in a sense, playing the alchemist,innovating with color and transmutation: Take the vitriol of Venus ... and add thereto the elements of water and air. Resolve, and set to putrefy for a month according to the instructions.... Separate and you will soon see two colors, namely white and red.The red is above the white. The red tincture ofvitriol is so powerful that it reddens all white bodies, and whitens all red ones, which is wonderful. Work upon this tincture by means of a retort, and you will perceive a blackness issue forth." For Rothko,"the progression ofa painter's work as it travels in time from point to point will be toward clarity; toward the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea, and between the idea and the observer."Toward this end,he was inspired by the later work ofFra Angelico,who discarded conventional elements, symbolic or otherwise,for purity of vision and a direct mediation with the viewer. Art historian John Gage describes how Rothko achieved a similar immediacy and intimacy by following the ancient Greek formula of adding degrees oflightness or darkness, as well as "translucency or opacity, high or low saturation, smooth or brushy textures,'warmth'or 'coolness,'contrasts ofcolor area,sharp or soft edges, and above all [through] the creation ofscarcely definable tones in depth by the layering ofseveral paints." He further notes that Rothko employed traditional

techniques and materials, such as grinding his own pigments,using egg temperas, and separating layers of pigment with an egg-white glaze. Ammi Phillips was closer to firsthand knowledge ofsuch techniques, which were documented by the late-fourteenthcentury craftsman Cennino Cennini in his artists' manual .11 libro dell'arte. When he first started to paint, Phillips had no recourse but to create his own paints by grinding dried pigments or mixing pigment pastes with the driers, nut oils, and other ingredients needed to make oil paint in a traditional color palette from time-tested formulas. His years as an artist encompassed the introduction of paints in tubes, the discovery ofchrome colors, and the chemical synthesizing of others. He died, however, before the explosion ofcolor in the last years ofthe nineteenth century, when coaltar compounds were found to offer a new spectrum of purples and other colors. Unlike Rothko,then,Phillips was not trying to rediscover the secrets ofthe medieval artists; he already knew their techniques through a lineage of direct transmission. His greatest innovation may lie in his sensual color play, revolutionary abstraction offiguration, and rejection of"clutter" within the stricture of nineteenth-century convention. In the Middle Ages,the ephemeral and holy light of God was captured in the fragile medium of colored glass in Gothic cathedrals. Abbot Suger wrote this of his great cathedral, Saint-Denis: For bright is that which is brightly coupled with the bright, and bright is the noble edifice which is pervaded by new light." Ammi Phillips and Mark Rothko: two seekers, each ofwhose work illuminates the other's and brings new light into the world.


NOTES 1 Mark Rothko,as quoted in John Gage,"Rothko: Color as Subject," in Jeffrey Weiss,Mark Rothko(Washington,D.C.: National Gallery of Art,1998),P.249. 2 Rothko, The Artist's Reality:Philosophies ofArt,ed. Christopher Rothko(New Haven,Conn.: Yale University Press, 2004), p. 47. Rothko described the artist's invitation to the viewer to take "a journey within the realm ofthe canvas ... entering into mysterious recesses.... Ulfthe painting is felicitous, do so at varying and related intervals. This journey is the skeleton, the framework of the idea....[T]he artist will have the spectator pause at certain points and will regale him with especial seductions at others.... Without taking the journey, the spectator has really missed the essential experience of the picture." 3 Rothko,"A Symposium on How to Combine Architecture, Painting and Sculpture,"Interiors 110, no.10(May 1951): 108,as quoted in Bonnie Clearwater,Mark Rothko: Works on Paper(New York Hudson Hills Press in association with the Mark Rothko Foundation and American Federation ofArts, 1984), pp.34-35. 4 Edmund Burke,as quoted in ibid., p.34. 5 Burke,PhilosophicalEnquiry into the Origin ofOurIdeas ofthe Sublime and Beautiful; With an Introductory Discourse Concerning Taste(New York Harper & Brothers, 1844), p.72. 6 The advertisements placed by Phillips in the Berkshire Reporter, July 29, 1809, and Jan. 10,1810,were discovered by Christine Oalclander and are illustrated in Eleanor H.Gustafson,"Collectors' Notes," The Magazine Antiques 138, no.4(October 1990): 662,698. 7 Rothko, The Artist's Reality, op. cit., p.22. 8 Charles Bergengren,"'Finished to the Utmost Nicety': Plain Portraits in America, 1760-1860," in Folk Art andArt Worlds, ed. John Michael Vlach and Simon J. Bronner(Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1986), p. 85. 9 Conservation notes for Harriet Campbellwere provided by Sarah Lees, associate curator of European art, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute,Williamstown,Mass.(e-mail to the author, March 20, 2008). An initial treatment in 1965,before the painting entered the collection of the Clark Art Institute, described the paint as having been applied without any ground layer. When the painting was examined in 1991,conservator Michael Heslip noted that"the unprimed tacking margins show that it was primed after having been stretched with a light gray layer of paint.This thin gray layer is visible throughout the painting and in the background was left exposed as the primary color modified with a thin pinkishgray color.', 10 Barbara and Larry Holdridge,"Arnmi Phillips,"Art in America 48, no.2(summer 1960): 98-103.This is one ofthe early articles in which the Holdridges posited their theory that paintings created over a period ofseveral decades by seemingly different artists were in fact all the work of a single artist, Atnmi Phillips.


11 Sidney Janis, They Taught Themselves:American Primitive Painters ofthe 20th Century(New York The Dial Press, 1942). 12 Rothko, The Artist's Reality, op. cit., p. 113. 13 Bergengren,op. cit. In 1924,a group of ancestor portraits from local families was displayed in a summer fair in Kent,Conn.The portraits ofsober gentlemen in dark suits set against inky backgrounds and women with oval faces,elegant elongated necks, and gleaming dresses emerging from smoky darkness created a sensation in the art world, and the artist, then unidentified, was dubbed the Kent Limner.It was not until 1959 that Lawrence Holdridge and Barbara Cohen (later Holdridge)first publicly posited that the portraits by artists known as the Border Limner, Kent Limner, and others were in fact the work of a single artist, Ammi Phillips, working at different periods of his decades-long career;"Found: A Berkshire Old Master," Berkshire Week, Aug.29,1959. 14 Rothko, The Artist's Reality, op. cit., p. 85. 15 St. Augustine,as quoted in Umberto Eco,Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages, trans. Hugh Bredin(New Haven,Conn.:Yale University Press, 1986), p. 28. 16 St. Bonaventure, as quoted in ibid., p.43. 17 Rothko,conversation with Alfred Jensen,June 17, 1953,as quoted in James E.B. Breslin, Mark Rothko:A Biography(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), p. 301. 18 Paracelsus, as quoted in Philip Ball, Bright Earth:Art and the Invention ofColor(New York Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2002), p. 76. 19 Rothko,"Statement on His Attitude in Painting," The Tiger's Eye 1, no.9(October 1949): 114,as quoted in Carol MancusiUngaro,"Material and Immaterial Surface: The Paintings of Rothko,"in Weiss,op. cit., p.299. 20 Gage,"Rothko: Color as Subject," op. cit., p.249. 21 Abbot Suger,as quoted in Eco,op. cit., p. 46.



ark Rothko,one ofthe major figures in American art ofthe twentieth century,was essentially a self-taught artist. Born Marcus Rothkowitz in Dvinsk, Russia,in 1903, he immigrated to the United States with his family in 1913 and grew up in Portland, Oregon. He showed little interest in art as a youth or as a student at Yale University; however,when he moved to New York after college in 1923,he attended a drawing class at the Art Students League. He also briefly enrolled at the New York School of Design,a small commercial art school, where he acquired such practical graphicdesign skills as the mechanical enlargement and transfer of original source images to his own work. Moreover,he took a class with the Armenian painter Arshile Gorky, who instructed his students in the painting techniques ofthe old masters.' But it was a painting class he took with Max Weber in 1925 at the Art Students League that proved to be a defining experience. Although Rothko studied with Weber for only three months,the experience shaped his development and his aspirations for what painting could accomplish.In particular, he shared Weber's conviction that painting had to be more than the arrangement ofcolor and form,and that it should suggest something profound and spiritual.'The expressionistic representational style ofRothko's early paintings demonstrates the influence of Weber and,through him,Cezanne. Rothko's most intensive art education came from studying works in New York's museums and galleries, consulting books on art history and archaeology, and conversing with other artists,including Milton Avery Adolph Gottlieb, and Barnett Newman. Access to paintings by Fra Filippo Lippi, Rembrandt,and Vermeer in the collection ofthe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, provided historical antecedents for the compositions,subjects, and technique ofseveral of his paintings ofthe 1930s.' Rothko's firsthand encounter with Egyptian and Assyrian art at the Brooklyn Museum and the Met and his study of archaeological books led him to emulate the way ancient artists suggested pictorial space by overlapping flat planes and forms. Archaic works also provided models for the symbolic images in Rothko's mythological and surrealist paintings ofthe early 1940s.° From the study of these artifacts, coupled with his experience teaching children at the time,he drew the conclusion that linear perspective,foreshortening,and modeling were not innate impulses but acquired skills.' He knew that as a self-aware adult artist he could never work as purely as his young students or ancient and primitive artists did unless he identified the artificial conventions of painting and eliminated them from his work.' A posthumously discovered manuscript, The Artist's Reality, written by Rothko in the 1930s and early 1940s and finally published,in book form,in 2004,provides fresh insight into what he learned from art history In this manuscript, Rothko devoted considerable thought to the subject of pictorial space. He believed that an artist had to make the philosophical decision as to whether this space was illusory—that is, whether it uses the mechanics of perspective,foreshortening, and modeling—or whether it was tactile, meaning that the forms look like they could be felt with the hand.' His aim was to create the sensation of a convincing third dimension on the two-dimensional surface ofthe canvas that viewers could visually enter.


as he lacked a mastery of modeling and tended to paint minute details, such as every blade ofgrass, rather than suggesting generalizations, which is the way the mind comprehends what it sees. For Rothko,Berenson's and the Blashfields'evaluations of Giotto's significance summed up the two different philosophical approaches artists could follow in their painting. Berenson favored tactile space, as it appeals to the primal impulse of humans who in infancy learn about the world through the sense oftouch; the Blashfields looked for a reality that conformed to sight divorced from every other sense. Rothko sided with Berenson,extolling Giotto as a model to emulate for his ability to create the exciting and convincing sensation that the painted object or figure actually exists in space. A number of Rothko's paintings ofthe late 1930s suggest the influence of Giotto. In The Artist's Reality, Rothko noted how Giotto relied, to some extent, on certain illusory devices,such as dividing space into horizontal and vertical planes. However,this space is very shallow, and the "vertical background plane is THE EPIPHANY Giotto di Bondone (1266/76-1337) never very far from the surface." This compositional Florence, Italy arrangement accounts for the extraordinary strong Possibly c. 1320 Tempera on wood, gold ground feeling of movement that Giotto's pictures convey" In 17 V4 X 17/ 1 4" his own paintings ofthe late 1930s,such as Untitled The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1911, 11.126.1 (Subway), Rothko often divided the compositions horiImage()The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York zontally and vertically. Space in this work is restricted Rothko knew what he wanted to accomplish to the narrow subway platform, which,along with the conceptually, but it took considerable research and elongated columns,simulate the classical architecture experimentation for him to arrive at the formal means in such Giotto paintings as The Ascension ofSaintJohn to achieve his goal. Although Cezanne provided a the Evangelist(c. 1320),in Santa Croce,in Florence modern precedent for this spatial effect, Rothko turned (reproduced in Berenson's Florentine Painters ofthe to the Florentine master Giotto di Bondone (1266/76- Renaissance).The mustard-colored walls in Rothko's 1337) as the focus of his analysis. The opportunity to Untitled(Subway),which were possibly inspired by study Giotto firsthand in the 1930s was limited: at Giotto's gold-leaf backgrounds as seen in The Epiphany, the time,there was only a single tempera painting on squeeze the flattened, silhouetted figures right up wood accessible in New York—The Epiphany,in the against the picture plane. In another painting from collection ofthe Metropolitan Museum ofArt. Most the late 1930s, Untitled(Still4fe with Mallet, Scissors, of Rothko's observations about Giotto came from and Glove),in the collection ofthe National Gallery consulting Bernhard Berenson's book The Florentine ofArt in Washington,D.C., Rothko again divided his Painters ofthe Renaissance(1896) and Edwin Howland composition into horizontals and verticals, creating a Blashfield and Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield's Italian very confined space in which the tools exist. Here,he Cities(1900).9 These authors gave contrasting appraisuncharacteristically employed foreshortening to sugals of Giotto's significance. Berenson admired Giotto gest that the scissors are receding into space,turned for rousing the tactile sense and creating the illusion of the tools in at an oblique angle to the picture plane, being able to touch his figures. The Blashfields,on the and used conventional modeling by graying the colors contrary, did not consider Giotto's paintings as realistic, at the edges—all departures from the shallower, planar


UNTITLED (SUBWAY) Mark Rothko (1903-1970) New York c.1937 Oil on canvas 20 Y8 X 301/8" National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc.,1986.43.113 Copyright @1998 Christopher Rothko and Kate Rothko Prizel/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

UNTITLED (WOMAN IN SUBWAY) Mark Rothko (1903-1970) New York c. 1938 Oil on gesso board 111 / 2x 8/8" National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc., 1986.56.657 Copyright @1998 Christopher Rothko and Kate Rothko Prizel/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

compositional arrangement he typically favored. In another subway painting, Untitled (Woman in Subway), however, Rothko achieved the sense ofweight and volume in the undulating fabric ofthe young woman's coat that he had observed in the garments in Giotto's paintings. With just a few quick lines, rudimentary light and shade,and transparent glaze, Rothko made the drapery look as though it had been chiseled like a low-reliefsculpture. Both ofthese paintings are part of a series ofoil paintings on prepared gesso board that simulate Giotto's paintings on wood panel,such as the one Rothko could have seen at the Met. The air in a Giotto painting, Rothko observed, was not empty as in the conventional Renaissance painting but appeared as a palpable substance." He found this effect appealing, as it took into account the fact that air has weight and exerts pressure, and both affect how we see objects. By imagining that the air in his paintings had the consistency of a plate ofjelly or putty, Rothko felt he could make his forms look like he had inserted them at varying intervals ofdepth.This approach is particularly evident in those of his transitional paintings known as multiforms,in which amorphous shapes advance and retreat in a primordial ooze. Giotto also provided Rothko with a possible route away from figuration and toward abstraction. From Giotto, as well as Cezanne,he learned that forms and textures can produce their own sensation ofweight without being identified with a recognizable object." For instance, absorptive textures seem heavier than those that have translucent substance, and different shapes produce contrasting tactile responses—cubes, for example,look heavier than spheres even when they are ofthe same material.The study of Giotto's use of colors for their spatial qualities helped Rothko liberate pigment from the figure. In Rothko's estimate, artists from the Renaissance onward lost the pure sensation of color one discovered in Giotto's paintings by graying colors at their contours to create the sensation ofthe recession ofthe figure at various intervals. During his multiform period in the mid- and late I940s, Rothko can be seen experimenting with the way colors could give the sensation ofprojection or recession, and using pigments to structure tactile shapes that seem to have real dimension, density, and weight. Rothko's self-education spanned almost twentyfive years. It is obvious from his writings that he had


carefully considered the characteristics in the art ofthe past, especially Giotto's,that produced a convincing artistic reality. It is unlikely that he would have achieved his breakthrough any sooner by attending art school, as his was an individual pursuit ofdiscovery that could not have been taught at the time.Through analysis ofthe art ofthe past he was able to determine for himself how to create a pictorial space that is dynamic and real. In his January 1950 exhibition at Betty Parsons Gallery in New York, Rothko showed the first paintings that came close in composition to his classic works. One ofthese,No.3/No.13(1949),now in the collection ofthe Museum ofModern Art, New York,shares with subsequent canvases large scale and the nearly symmetrical arrangement of multiple striated bands and rectangles stacked horizontally on a monochromatic field.The bands ofthis iconic image stop short ofthe edge and are contained by a colored field that narrowly frames them. Although some critics explained Rothko's evolution to the classic painting as merely the elimination ofthe forms that appeared in his figurative and surreal paintings so that only the simplified tiered backgrounds remained, Rothko was adamant that it was not that he had swept away the figure, but that the rectangles and striations had replaced the figure on the background." As in Giotto's paintings,the background in Rothko's classic compositions appears very close to the picture plane, and the forms have limited room to expand and contract,thereby suggesting a convincing tactile sensation. Not only do the forms seem to project and recede in a palpable space, but one senses, as in Giotto's paintings, that it is possible to penetrate the layers of paint. Although a single color permeates the sizing ofthe canvas,producing a unified field, Rothko was able to achieve the pronounced sensation of colorfulness that he admired in Giotto's paintings. The Betty Parsons show was a critical success,and Rothko even sold a few paintings.In March 1950, he embarked—with his wife, Mary Alice Bistel (Mel)—on his first visit to Europe.There,during his sojourn in Italy, he finally saw the Giotto frescoes in person. It is possible that this experience inspired Rothko to use a more muted palette to simulate the chalky quality ofthe frescoes in place ofthe strident, contrasting colors ofseveral ofthe canvases he had shown at Betty Parsons, and to modulate the forms with brushy areas to simulate the reflection ofthe


flickering light ofvotive candles across the surface of the early Renaissance murals he had seen in the dark cells ofthe chapels he had visited in Italy. Although there was no ordered or logical progression in the direction Rothko followed in his formative years, he was able to look back at his early paintings and see with the benefit ofhindsight how he had arrived at his classic painting. He recognized that "there appeared an aspiration in these old paintings for the present.""The long journey was essential in ultimately making it possible for Rothko to forge his seminal paintings,but it would have been impossible for him in the 1930s and 1940s to have predicted the outcome. NOTES 1 Mark Rothko revealed information about his art training and the artistic and archaeological sources for illustrations he drew for Rabbi Lewis Browne's The Graphic Bible:From Genesis to Revelation in Animated Maps & Charts(New York: Macmillan, 1928)in a 1928 New York State Supreme Court Trial. See Bonnie Clearwater, The Rothko Book(London:Tate Publishing,2006),pp. 15-16,46. 2 Max Weber,Essays on Art(New York printed by W.E. Rudge, 1916), p. 26. 3 David Anfam,Mark Rothko: The Works on Canvas(New Haven, Conn.:Yale University Press in association with National Gallery of Art, 1998), pp.26-41. Anfam references several Old Master paintings that Rothko may have used as sources for his paintings in the 1920s and 1930s. 4 Ibid. and Clearwater, op. cit., p. 46. 5 Rothko taught children at the Brooklyn Jewish Center from 1929 to 1952. 6 Rothko (signed Marcus Rothkowitz),"New Training for Future Artists and Art Lovers," Brooklyn Jewish Center Review 14 (February—March 1934): 10-11. See Rothko, Writings on Art,ed. Miguel Lopez-Reiniro(New Haven,Conn.: Yale University Press, 2006), pp. 1-3. 7 Rothko, The Artist's Reality:Philosophies ofArt, ed. Christopher Rothko(New Haven,Conn.: Yale University Press,2004). 8 Ibid., pp.43-55. 9 Ibid., pp.43-46. See Bernhard Berenson, The Florentine Painters ofthe Renaissance: With an Index to Their Works(New York G.P.Putnam's Sons,1896); and Edwin Howland Blashfield and Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield,Italian Cities(New York C. Scribner's Sons,1900). 10 Rothko, The Artist's Reality, op. cit., p. 58. 11 Ibid., p.58. 12 Ibid., p. 59. 13 Ibid., p.53. 14 Notes from an interview by William Seitz,Jan. 22,1952,in Rothko, Writings on Art, op. cit., p. 77. 15 Rothko, notes,c. 1954,in ibid., p. 111.


UNTITLED Mark Rothko 1970

1 20



Ammi Phillips c. 1815

Ammi Phillips c. 1815

GIRL IN PINK Ammi Phillips c. 1832


WOMAN WITH PINK RIBBONS Ammi Phillips c. 1830


NO. 1 Mark Rothko 1961





Ammi Phillips c. 1836

Ammi Phillips c. 1815


UNTITLED Mark Rothko 1956




Ammi Phillips 1830-1835

Ammi Phillips 1830-1835



Ammi Phillips 1834

Ammi Phillips C. 1835



Ammi Phillips 1835-1840



Ammi Phillips (1788-1865) PINK Harriet Leavens Lansingburgh, Rensselaer County, New York c.1815 Oil on canvas 56¼x27" Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum,Cambridge, Massachusetts, gift of the Estate of Harriet Anna Nie1,1945.27 (not in exhibition)

GREEN Woman with Pink Ribbons United States c.1830 Oil on canvas 32 x 271 / 2" Collection of Peter and Barbara Goodman Blond Boy with Primer, Peach, and Dog Probably New York State c.1836 Oil on canvas 48% x 30" Philadelphia Museum of Art, estate of Alice M. Kaplan, 2001, 2001-13-1

Harriet Campbell Greenwich, Washington County, New York c.1815 Oil on canvas 48% x 25" Frederick A. Gale Sterling and Francine Clark Galesville, Washington Art Institute, Williamstown, County, New York Massachusetts, gift c.1815 of Oliver Eldridge in Oil on canvas memory of Sarah Fairchild 44% x 241 / 4" Anderson, teacher of Private collection art, North Adams Public Schools, daughter of Harriet Campbell Girl in Pink Probably New York State c.1832 Oil on canvas 23% x 20" Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, New Jersey, gift of Edward Duff Balken, class of 1897, Y1958-74

Mark Rothko (1903-1970) RED Girl in Red Dress with Dog Probably New York State 1830-1835 Oil on canvas 32 x 263 / 4" Private collection Girl in Red Dress with Cat and Dog Vicinity of Amenia, Dutchess County, New York 1830-1835 Oil on canvas 30 x 25" American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of the Siegman Trust, Ralph Esmerian, trustee, 2001.37.1

PINK Untitled New York 1970 Acrylic on canvas 60% x 571 / 4" National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc., 1986.43.173 Copyright ©1998 Christopher Rothko and Kate Rothko Prizel/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

GREEN No.1 New York 1961 Oil and acrylic on canvas 101% x 89%" National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc., 1986.43.151 Copyright ©1998 Christopher Rothko and Kate Rothko Prizel/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

RED Untitled New York 1956 Oil on canvas 92% x 8314" National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc., 1986.43.153 Copyright @ 1998 Christopher Rothko and Kate Rothko Prizel/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Andrew Jackson Ten Broeck Clermont, Columbia County, New York 1834 Oil on canvas 39 x 34" Private collection Girl in a Red Dress Probably New York State c.1835 Oil on canvas 32% x 27%" Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.57 (not in exhibition) Mrs. Mayer and Daughter Probably New York State 1835-1840 Oil on canvas 37% x 341 / 4" The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch,1962, 62256.2


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