Thursday, April 26, 2007

RARE Old Photo of Anonymous Carver of Articulated Figures

Came upon this extremely rare glass negative of an anonymous folk artist with his articulated figures. Finding the original figures is hard enough these days, but actually discovering photos of the folk art in its original context is almost unheard of! I remember a few years ago seeing a 19th century cabinet card that had a very rare image of a southern face jug on it. It was jaw-dropping to see and I regret not saving a .jpg of it (the piece ended up selling for over $ 800.00!).

One of the many projects that I would love to do, but sadly may never get to, would be to produce a book a photos of folk art in their original settings. Who knows? Maybe it will happen some day...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Visual Archaeology 101

Some things we’ve seen (who doesn’t love a wall of lunchboxes?), but it takes a certain sensibility to unearth visual wallops in objects that others would commonly pass by. How about an old rooftop air vent found in New York City on the lower east side of Manhattan? Or the canine teeth of an antique iron ice saw blade?

That sensibility belongs to folk art dealer/visual designer Mark Indursky. Check out his website I’m not so secretly jealous of some of the great articulated figures he has in his collection, but you got to love a guy that really knows how to hone in on vintage pieces that have great surface and visual appeal.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Pretty nice folk art carving of a nude woman on eBay. I've been going back and forth as to whether it was legit or not. By the photos, it seemed to have legitimate wear patterns. Style is certainly circa 1920's.

(Note: I do not attest to the authenticity of any auction listings I post. I'm only highlighting items I find interesting in one way or another.)(Credit: eBay listing)

Update: Sold for $ 1125.00

Friday, April 13, 2007

Early 20th Century Folk Art Carved Nude Woman

Here's a nice folk art carving that I've decided to list on eBay. I always liked how most of the body is proportionally correct, but then the arm does this weird extension. Very folky. I'll miss her :(

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Monday, April 9, 2007

O’ Mother, Where Art Thou?

This is an interesting collecting category that I’m sure few people knew existed. In fact, I have no idea how many people actually know about or collect these. In the mid-to-late 19th century, many people would want to have formal portraits of their babies or toddlers photographed by themselves, but were afraid of either the baby moving too much, resulting in a blurred photo or the baby falling and doing a header right onto the studio floor. Neither option all too appealing!

So what’s a poor studio portraitist to do? I know! Let’s put a cloak around mom so she looks like a freakin’ ghost and plop junior on her lap! It’s genius! Love these strange 19th century make-do solutions…It’s fairly common to find examples with an arm or the side of a head peeking through, but the ones that become really interesting are the “cloak” or “drape” images where the mom was fully cloaked yet you can still see the form of the head and shoulders and it becomes this spectral being with a baby on it’s lap.

eBay: Folk Art Scarecrow or Circus Head Carving Sculpture

Interesting head currently on eBay. Here's a cut and paste from the auction listing:

It is 10" high and has some painted highlights on the eyes, eyebrows, lips, and ears. The carving marks are evident. I bought this when I lived in Texas over 25 years ago. It was said to have come from the Indiana area.

Update: Sold for $ 510.00

(Note: I do not attest to the authenticity of any auction listings I post. I'm only highlighting items I find interesting in one way or another.)
(Credit: eBay listing)

Unusual CDV Photo of Man with Medals

Just got this piece this weekend. I like how faint and washed out most of the image is so that what really stands out is the handpainted color on the medals.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Nothing like a crazy Russian with a gun!

You have to wonder what was going on inside this guy's head! Not much is known about Alexandre Lobanov except that he was born in Mologa, Russia, lost his hearing at age 7, and was institutionalized by his family at the age of 23. In the 1970s, he started making these elaborate backgrounds of guns, medals, etc...and got a local photographer to do these self-portraits. The works are at once honest, soulful and disturbing all at the same time. Also interesting to see "true" contemporary outsider art vs. some of the assembly-line stuff you see being passed as "outsider". More on this last point on another post, but isn't it interesting (and suspicious) that most contemporary outsider art looks pretty much the same? Not with my boy Alexandre!
(Credit: This photo was taken from the book "Create and Be Recognized", a great catalog to the exhibition of the same name that was at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in 2005; Photo Courtesy of abcd)

Friday, April 6, 2007

Here's a nice piece I picked up a few weeks ago. Circa 1900 handmade ceramic form for a mask. There's a nice haunting beauty to it that I just love. Found in Ohio.
This was formerly in Harris Diamant's collection and you can still view it on his website:, which also features his incredible sculptures as he is also an artist.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Links to some good dealers

Here's a list of folk art dealers that skew beyond the traditional canon of American folk art (i.e. Weathervanes, decoys, quilts, etc....) but show a really good eye toward picking up the visually interesting across ALL mediums. Sort of the Hemphill-approach to folk art collecting.

Get ready to salivate:

Got a good link to share with me? Send it to me please! I know this is hardly a complete list....

Articulated Figures

One of my favorite categories of American folk art is articulated figures.

These 2 figures just went for $ 2200.00 at the latest Noel Barrett auction. Yes, I got blown out of the water again! The larger piece is technically an artist's model and the smaller figure is a nice example of a limberjack, probably dating from the late 19th century. (Credit: Photo from Noel Barrett auction listing)