Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Luster Willis death painting

Luster Willis (1913-1990) lived in Mississippi and was one of the artists in the famous show "Black Folk Art in America, 1930-1980," held at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington. The book from that exhibition includes a full-page color image similar to this painting called "Mummie of the Stone Age," done in the 1970s. The "Black Folk Art in America" book, by Jane Livingston and John Beardsley, says Willis "is an innately sophisticated draftsman whose command of his technical medium separates him decisively from many of the more blunt and direct styles associated with 'folk' art. Willis's major works are subtle and diverse in both their subject  and execution as any painting by the most accomplished schooled artists." Willis is quoted in the book as saying, "I used to like to draw a lot of caskets and put imaginary figures in them. I think death is interesting because it's something that, sooner or later, we will all have to meet."

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