Friday, September 30, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Southern sheriff on the hunt

A large painting (30.6 inches by 40.6 inches) showing a flag-waving sheriff with bloodhounds, apparently hunting for someone. My guess is it dates to the 1950s. If he's defending freedom, who is the quarry?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

African-American male, female andirons, c. early 1800s

These male and female andirons with curved, sword-like arms are possibly from west Tennessee. "The two near diminutive figures, male and female, with their strict form and rigid stance communicate aggressiveness and a coded resistance," according to an appraisal by Jimmy Allen, a dealer who concentrates on African-American material. The female andiron is slightly smaller than the mate and has a smaller head, and it has a notch between the legs. They are sized for a small hearth and room. Allen says, "the black smithy folded the iron over and over, back on itself, for increased strength to endure  the rigors of daily use." The current owner purchased the andirons from Robert Reeves, an Atlanta dealer who is an expert on African-American art and antiques.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Young man wearing a red bow tie

Some paintings have a disarming innocence. This is one of them. From South Dakota, circa 1920.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Rev. William Gayle's Crucifixion

The Rev. William Gayle, an African-American minister from Ark, Va., made these powerful, well publicized carvings probably early in the 20th century. They look like hand-forged iron sculptures but in fact are wood painted black. Gayle portrays Jesus as an older black man. The face of the man to the left of Jesus is mask like; he is the penitent thief whose bent right leg is free of restraint. All three are stoic. The carvings have been published in American Vernacular (Frank Maresca, Roger Ricco, 2002) p. 172; Folk Art magazine, winter 1992-93, p. 65; Religious Folk Art in America (C. Kurt Dewhurst, Betty MacDowell, Marsha MacDowell, 1983) p. 126; and A Virginia Sampler, 18th, 19th & 20th Century Folk Art (Ferrum College, the Roanoke Fine Arts Center, 1976). They have been in a private collection in Atlanta for the past six years.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Welding deity

How did the mythical cyclops come to be? One theory is that the blacksmith who wore an eye patch so flying sparks could not blind both eyes was the inspiration for the cyclops. So maybe a plastic cyclops welding mask is not so far out after all. Maybe it's part of a long tradition. Or maybe not.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mud pig

The Alabama artist Jimmy Lee Sudduth (d. 2007) "painted" this porker probably in the 1980s. Sudduth used a sugar water/mud mix. If you're unfamiliar with Sudduth, he became quite well known because of the sometimes great images he made with mud, and because of his outsize personality. Fans flocked to his small home in Fayette, eager to exchange green for mud. Sudduth died at the ripe old age of 97.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

She's the real deal, but the dog's a phony

It was funny then and it's funny now. Stuffed animal humor, it never goes out of style.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I'll marry you dexterity game

Oops, the ring fell on the second finger. Oh well, guess I'm not going to marry you. Made in Japan. On the flip side, try to put the beads in the monkey's eyes.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Small thickly painted basket

I'm not a basket collector but I was really drawn to the old paint surface on this one. The basket has hardened under the heavy paint. I also like the small size: 6.6 inches high and 6 inches across.