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May 2013   


Outsider Art 


Last month's issue on Street Art included the work of Basquiat.  This  issue continues with the related genres known as Outsider Art, Folk Art, and Tramp Art. 
Market Alert!   Jean-Paul Baquiat's large painting entitled 
Dustheads will be on the auction block at Christies NY, May 15/  It is expected to fetch $25 - $35 million!  
Outsider Art Comes Inside  


Outsider Art or brut art coined by the French painter Dubuffet around 1950 is a term lacking consensus or a precise definition. Generally it is considered a genre of works produced by people who for various reasons may be described as on the fringe of society & not indoctrinated to the conventions of the world of art schools, galleries, or museums. The creators produce their work from the depths of their souls, emotions & perceptions. Unfiltered by convention or the need to sell their work they are often very creative, expressive & unique pieces.


The original label referred mainly to persons who were imprisoned, institutionalized, mentally or physically challenged.  Ramirez   


One such artist was Martin Ramirez (1895 - 1963). Born in Mexico later crossing the border to California he spent many years institutionalized in hospitals as a mental patient. In the 15 years before his death he produced a series of over 300 drawings, many of which have been featured in art galleries & museums.


Folk art or na´ve art suggests functional & decorative art forms by "ordinary" people not formally trained as artists but self-taught. The term primitive is also linked to this genre.

Still life  

This still life painting by a young girl, lacking in training as witnessed by the lack of perspective will remain with its owner & creator, yours truly.  The other is by Grandma Moses, a farmer's wife who took up painting in her late 70s.

  Grandma Moses   

Often the designs and techniques stem from shared cultural traditions & folklore, yet individually expressed. The quilting tradition of Gee's Bend, Alabama dates back to the 19th century when the community was the site of a cotton plantation owned by Joseph Gee. Influenced in part by lively African textiles, slave women sewed together strips of cloth to make bed covers. A distinctive style of boldness in pattern, geometry & color continued to develop. This one by Annie Pearl Thompson in the 1970s is currently selling for $4800.


Gee Bend Quilt  

Tramp Art is a particular form of folk art introduced in the early 1860s in America by German & Scandinavian migrant (itinerant) wood carvers.  Chip carving, whittling & other techniques were employed, often with just a pocket knife, to transform used objects, mostly discarded cigar boxes, into accessories & furniture. Noted collector and author on the subject Clifford A. Wallach exhibits regularly at antique shows throughout the U.S. Tramp Art  


Currey & Co. recently introduced their tramp art-inspired furniture line such as this console.  


Currey & Co. 


A key distinction between folk & outsider art is that folk art typically embodies traditional forms & social values, where outsider art stands in a marginal relationship to society's mainstream. Both are selling like hot cakes! 




Upcoming Seminars @  
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W. 27 & 7th Ave. NYC
Top Ten Design Motifs of All Time (SXH 100)
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Profiles - Personalized Interiors
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Until the next time...