A collection of American drawings
from the late 19th century
The works on paper possess a distinctive dialect of colloquially informed written passages that were created by an artist working just before the beginning of the 20th century. Locations mentioned in the drawings range from the rural midwest of the United States to the urban areas of southern states; and, they depict activities related to farm life, clothing and fashion, and historic battles from the Civil War. These homespun, iconoclastic vignettes of life and human foibles and animal habits, in general, are highly personal, creative drawings that are very distinctive versus the highly Victorian drawings that were popular at the time.
American, 1914 - 1990
Ulysses Davis (1914–1990) was a Savannah, Georgia, barber who created a diverse but unified body of highly refined sculpture that reflects his deep faith, humor, and dignity. His carvings were featured in the seminal 1982 exhibition “Black Folk Art in America, 1930–1980” at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where they were applauded as important examples of African American vernacular art. Because he wanted his work to stay together after he died, Davis rarely sold his sculptures. He said, “They’re my treasure. If I sold these, I’d be really poor.” As a result, the carvings have had little exposure outside Savannah, particularly since his death, and Davis is little known outside folk art circles. (credit: American Folk Art Museum, NYC, NY)
American, 1892 - 1988
As a relatively unknown Southern artist, the work of Kentucky native T.A. Hay is an homage to the working farmer turned late-in-life artist. His tools are utilitarian – meat trays from the butcher, brown shoe polish, a red marker and yarn. One walks away with the feeling that Hay’s work emerged in isolation over a seventeen-year period in the rural Kentucky hill country. Not known to have sold any work during his lifetime, he would give them as gifts to guest.
The images float on a neutral field rarely grounded or on double-sided scraps of heavily varnished wood blocks standing on small wooden feet individually created by the artist. Originally saved from obscurity after Hay’s death by the important Kentucky historian/art dealer Larry Hackley, the collection includes approximately 400 individual pieces.
William E. Williams
American, 1818 – 1897
William Elwood Williams of Wrightstown, Bucks Co, PA executed these early watercolors in the year 1833 when he was a schoolboy. They were removed from a ledger book and framed by an early collector. The ledger book contained 74 of his paintings of life in rural Pennsylvania. These paintings reflect a fascination with hunting, dogs, horses and weapons, as well as whimsical scenes and individuals. W.E. Williams died at the home of Lambert Cadwallader in 1897 and left no family. A second ledger “A Book of Writing” was started in 1833 and contains many penmanship lessons, stories, drawings and sayings concluded in 1835.
Canadian, b. 1961
Canadian born self-taught artist Holly Farrell began painting 23 years ago. Created from acrylic and oil on panel board, her works feature nostalgic imagery of specific snapshots from her memory. Whether an image of a tea towel, a spoon or the iconic Pillsbury doughboy, her work is painstakingly realistic is its execution.
Currently, Holly lives with her husband near Toronto, Canada.