Revisiting The Art of the Common Man

Editorial Staff Art

The exhibition American Folk Art: The Art of the Common Man in America, 1750–1900 was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City from November 30, 1932, through January 14, 1933. Presenting American folk art as part of a continuous artistic tradition reaching back to the eighteenth century, it was the most comprehensive, illuminating display of the subject held up to that time.

Mourning Becomes Them: The death of children in nineteenth-century American art

Catherine E. Kelly Art

“In the midst of life we are in death”  These familiar words, which marched across sermons and samplers alike in the early decades of the American republic, surely resonated with sixteen-year-old Charlotte Sheldon in the summer of 1796. Sheldon was studying at Sarah Pierce’s Litchfield Female Academy when she heard the news: Polly Buel, another student, had died. Sheldon put down her studies …

The substance of remembering: A collector’s quest

Art, Furniture & Decorative Arts, Living with Antiques

Can there be more than one Robert Hicks operating out of a cabin called “Labor in Vain” somewhere near Nashville, Tennessee? You might be forgiven for thinking so. The Robert Hicks whose essay appears below is also a best-selling novelist (The Widow of the South, A Separate Country, and the forthcoming The Orphan Mother); a former music publisher and artist manager for a …

What we talk about when we talk about naive art

Editorial Staff Art

Late in the 1970s, sailing in the Grenadines, my wife Brigitte and I stopped at the small island of Bequia—an Arawak name meaning “is­land of the clouds.” It has now become a tourist stop. Port Elizabeth, its principal town, today advertises a “charming waterfront; take a stroll from the vegetable market, follow ‘front street’ with its many shops, boutiques and …

Making friends with fraktur: Some thoughts on the exhibition Drawn with Spirit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Editorial Staff Exhibitions

If you are fraktur ignorant, fraktur agnostic, or fraktur allergic, this is an exhibition that should win you over. From its opening moment where a huge curving wall enlarges a small 1834-1835 gem of Adam and Eve attributed to Samuel Gottschall, the visitor is primed for seduction. How cunning of this artist to have depicted Eve being seduced by a …

Subject and object: The collection of Philip Pearlstein

Editorial Staff Art

from The Magazine ANTIQUES, July/August 2013. The arcane logic that unites the naked human form with a metal fan, a duck decoy, and an inflatable King Tut effigy may not seem self-evident to the average art lover: but for the past generation, these two subsets of creation have come together in the paintings of Philip Pearlstein. An avid collector of …

Folk art rising

Editorial Staff Art

from The Magazine ANTIQUES, July/August 2012 | Although the American Folk Art Museum received a great deal of press attention upon the closing of its award-winning building on Fifty-Third Street last year, the really big story was to be found in its immediate resurgence. Beginning with the hugely successful red and white quilt show at the Park Avenue Armory and …

Modern sculptors and American folk art

Editorial Staff Art

“Do not bore. Do not be obvious.” That was the advice given by painter, teacher, and critic Hamilton Easter Field (1873-1922) to his students in the Ogunquit (Maine) School of Paint­ing and Sculpture, which he opened in 1911 with his protégé, the French-born sculptor Robert Laurent.1 For Field, Laurent, and their colleagues who passed through Ogunquit and who shared similar …

In conversation with….Clifford Wallach, tramp art expert

Editorial Staff Art, Books

Clifford Wallach is a widely recognized expert in the field of tramp art—a branch of folk art in which objects are constructed from chip carved wood. As an antiques dealer, scholar, and author of two books on the subject, Tramp Art: One Notch at a Time (1998) and most recently Tramp Art: Another Notch, Folk Art From the Heart (2009), …