SMALL FACES UNBOUND

stevenspowers

SMALL FACES UNBOUND
The title of this collection comes from the lyric in, The Byrds’ song, “Eight Miles High.” This ripe phrase evokes a range of fantastic imagery; uninhibited children, shrunken heads, unencumbered puppets and marvelous dismemberment to name a few things that popped into my head.
Rather than discovering hidden faces or seeing them in inanimate objects (pareidolia), we focused on indelible visages—stark, psychological and philosophical—existential and mythological, some animal, some mysterious and some absurd.
January 19-22, 2017.
Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W 18th St, New York, NY 1001. Additional show information: stevenspowers.com

OUTSIDER

ART FAIR

N E W

Y O R K

J A N U A R Y

19-22, 2017


S T E V E N S . P O W E R S

S M A L L FA C E S U N B O U N D

The title of this collection comes from the lyric in

The Byrds’ song, “Eight Miles High.” This ripe

phrase evokes a range of fantastic imagery;

uninhibited children, tiny heads, unencumbered

puppets and marvelous dismemberment, to name

a few things that popped into my head.

Rather than discovering hidden faces or seeing

them in inanimate objects (pareidolia), we focused

on indelible visages—stark, psychological and

philosophical—existential and mythological, some

animal, some mysterious and some absurd.

January 19-22, 2017.

Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

additional show information: outsiderartfair.com

W O R K S O F

A R T

& a m e r i c a n a

360 Court Street #28, Brooklyn, NY 11231 | 718.625.1715 or 917.518.0809 | stevenspowers.com | member: ADA


Important Mesquakie Dog Effigy Ladle (detail)

Tama, Iowa

Carved wood, trade glass bead eyes, brass tacks

Circa: 1840

Size: 9 1/2" (oal) x 5 7/8" (w)

full details on pages 34-35


Terracotta Toddler

Architectural earthenware

Circa: 1920

Size: 12" (w) x 15" (d) x 24" (h)

Provenance: Robert Reeves, Ricco/Maresca,

Marvill Collection

Pictured: The Clarion, Spring 1990

Pictured and discussed: American Vernacular, page 165

This figure is one of the most indelible images pictured

in the folk art tome, American Vernacular. Found in an

African American’s garden in Ohio, it is enigmatic and

haunting.

The slightly larger than life-sized toddler sits upon a

stool—his hands rested on his outstretched legs. The

figure, decidedly a baby, however has a full set of teeth

and a pronounced Adam’s apple beyond his years.

Eyebrows and hair are scratched in.

The firing of the clay body has given the figure a burnt

reddish-orange color—like a loaf of braided bread in a

wood fired oven—or skin in the flickering light of a

campfire.


This figure feels alive. His uncoordinated muscles are

well rendered in the slightly off-balanced posture as is

his minute head roll. The doughy build of his body and

love-handles at his hips and buttocks gives us a sense of

his weight.

The scale of the figure is surprising and not often seen

in folk art ceramics. The terracotta medium and the

stock paver form upon which the baby sits suggests that

the builder worked at a commercial ceramic factory. The

insight of building technique, proper drying time before

firing and access to a sizable kiln would also support

this theory.

Terracotta Toddler (back)

Architectural earthenware

Circa: 1920

Size: 12” (w) x 15” (d) x 24” (h)


The Painted Tintype

A tintype or ferrotype is a photograph made by creating a direct image

onto a thin sheet of metal (there is no negative). From roughly 1860

onwards tintypes saw a popularity through all social classes, as they were

inexpensive, and quick and easy to make.

The images were black and white, giving the now largely out of work

itinerant portrait painters a new found opportunity to flesh out the sitters

and bring them to life—and a new genre of American folk art painting

was born.

As with other folk art painting, we look for a certain sprezzatura or casual

seriousness and a slight misalignment of earnest intent and artistic

ability—something slightly off in craft, but otherwise on.

*A note on condition: learn to accept peripheral scuffs, scratches and

tonal shifts (ghosting from the original mat). The corners, which would

have been hidden under the mats are often bent and/or have glue marks. I

have chosen to embrace these marks of time and not over mat the images

and present them edge to edge.

Happy Baby

Folk Art Painted Tintype

Circa: 1860

Size: +/- 6 1/2" x 8 1/2" (full plate)


Books Brothers

Folk Art Painted Tintype

Circa: 1860

Size: +/- 6 1/2" x 8 1/2" (full plate)


Young Girl in Windsor Chair

Folk Art Painted Tintype

Circa: 1860

Size: +/- 6 1/2" x 8 1/2" (full plate)


Serenity’s Child

Aluminum Hat Form

Circa: 1920

Size: 11" (h) x 7 3/4" (d)


Carnival Knockdowns

New England

Carved wood, polychrome, animal hair, movable eyes

Circa: 1900-1920

Size: 19" (h) x 7 1/2" (w) each

Provenance: Ricco/Maresca, Marvill Collection

Pictured and discussed in American Vernacular, page 91.

Two sets of three large and expressionistically painted knockdowns—each

with a brutal personality. They have the palette

and line quality of early Jackson Pollock, à la “The She Wolf.”

The She Wolf / Jackson Pollock

Oil on canvas / 1943

Museum of Modern Art


“Spiritualist Criterium”

Robert M. Clark, Formerly Sherif [sic], Ventura County, Califonia [sic]

DeWitt State Hospital, Placer County, California

Date: March 16 th 1954

Size: 9" (w) x 12" (h)

A fascinating seven page document written by a patient at the DeWitt State Hospital, California

(the same hospital and period in which Martín Ramírez was institutionalized). The patient

identifies as a “Robert M. Clark, former sherif [sic] of Ventura County,” and writes to “Dr. C. R.

Jackson, MD In Charge” about a “morphinism disturbance.” He weaves in a cast of characters

and a convoluted story involving morphine, prohibition and the Baptist Synod of Los Angeles to

name a few details.

The writing reminds one of William S. Burroughs’ morphine driven Dadaists vignettes of the

1950’s. It’s vivid and at times quite engaging with some well structured thoughts and colorful

phrases, however the whole is somewhat incohesive and difficult to follow—yet spellbinding!


Letters from (a State) Home

Wrought by Verba Frazier (1900-1951)

Mexia State Home, Mexia, Texas

Circa: 1940’s

Size of largest: 9" (h) x 6 1/4" (w)

These poignant embroidered letters were wrought by Verba Frazier, a diagnosed

schizophrenic (dementia praecox), from a state institution in Texas to her son,

Hudson. These simple sentiments are rich with emotion and heartache.

Verba Frazier was born in Pliny, West Virginia in 1900. She married John

Hudson Pritchard and they had a son, Hudson in 1921. 1930 census records

show the Pritchard family living together in Texas, however by 1940 Verba was

divorced and living as an inmate at the Terrell State Hospital in Kaufman

County, Texas. At some point she transferred to the Mexia State Home and

lived there until her death in 1951.

One of the letters is addressed to Hudson while he was living on West 77th

Street in New York City. However, court records from the same period show

Hudson in Los Angeles and getting into a bit of trouble with some minor burglaries—in

one instance he was found wearing the clothes of the victim.


Iron Workers Mask

Sheet metal

Circa: 1900

Size: 7 7/8" (h) x 7" (w)


(l) Rare Set of Four Puppet Heads

Dayton, OH

Carved wood, paint, glass marbles

Circa: 1900

Size: +/- 6" (h) x 4 1/2" (w) (each)

(r) Clown Puppet Head

Carved wood, paint, varnish

Circa: 1900

Size: 7 5/8" (h) x 3 1/2" (w)

Provenance: Ricco/Maresca, Marvill Collection


African American Woman in Mourning

Folk Art Painted Tintype

Circa: 1860

Size: +/- 6 1/2" x 8 1/2" (full plate)


African American Mother & Daughter

Folk Art Painted Tintype

Circa: 1860

Size: +/- 6 1/2" x 8 1/2" (full plate)

*notice the mother’s right hand, or lack thereof.


Mississippi Matrimony

Wood and polychrome

Circa: 1910

Size of largest: 11" (h) x 5 1/4" (w) x 4" (d)

Provenance: Natchez, Mississippi Estate

A rare pair of folk art figures representing a man and wife

(possibly on their wedding day). Each carved from the solid

with unusual (for folk art), but classic marble-esque bases.

The Southern gent with a goatee and black suit and his belle

in a white dress and carved pearls. The intricate detail to

the hair is especially great.


African American Young Woman

Folk Art Painted Tintype

Identified on back as, “Healey”

“Eureka Photo Huntington W. VA”

Circa: 1860

Size: 5" x 7" (custom size)


African American Boy in Dapper Suit

Folk Art Painted Tintype

Circa: 1860

Size: +/- 6 1/2" x 8 1/2" (full plate)


Hawaiian Ai-Laiki = Ricebird

James W. Washington, Jr. (American 1909-2000)

Dated: 1974

Size: 7 1/2" (l) x 4 1/2" (d) x 7" (h)

Provenance: Private Northwest Coast collection

A striking, signature work carved from black granite—the

bird is powerfully rendered with a commanding posture.

James W. Washington, Jr. was a self-taught African-American

artist known for his engaging works in stone. Born in Gloster,

Mississippi, Washington settled in Seattle working as a

government electrician.

Washington’s spirited, but quiet carvings are often seen as a

cross between two other direct carvers; the African American

Folk Artist, William Edmondson (1874-1951) and American

sculptor, John Flannagan (1895-1942).

Washington's work is represented in numerous private and

public collections, including The Smithsonian, the Whitney,

SFMOMA and the Seattle Art Museum.

Literature: Karlstrom, Paul J., THE SPIRIT IN STONE: THE

VISIONARY ART OF JAMES W. WASHINGTON, JR., Bellevue

Art Museum, 1989.; Ament, Deloris Tarzan, IRIDESCENT

LIGHT, University of Washington Press, 2002.


Woodchuck Hatching

James W. Washington, Jr. (American 1909-2000)

Dated: 1977

Size: 12" (l) x 7" (d) x 6 1/2" (h)

Provenance: Private Northwest Coast collection

Though Woodchucks do not hatch from eggs,

Washington successfully reminds us that all animal

life begins with an egg. Regarding a similar work, a

patron who upon seeing a recent work of

Washington’s in which a rabbit was hatching from

an egg, exclaimed, “A rabbit does not come from an

egg!” Washington replied, “Doctor, all life comes

from an egg.”

Washington's work is represented in numerous private and

public collections, including The Smithsonian, the Whitney,

SFMOMA and the Seattle Art Museum.

Literature: Karlstrom, Paul J., THE SPIRIT IN STONE: THE

VISIONARY ART OF JAMES W. WASHINGTON, JR., Bellevue

Art Museum, 1989.; Ament, Deloris Tarzan, IRIDESCENT

LIGHT, University of Washington Press, 2002.


Important Mesquakie Dog Effigy Ladle

Tama, Iowa

carved wood, trade glass bead eyes, brass tacks

Circa: 1840

Size: 9 1/2" (oal) x 5 7/8" (w)

Provenance: by descent through the family of John Young Bear,

Gaylord Torrence, Ned Jalbert, Steve Powers, Peter Brams,

Private collection.

Evan M. Maurer, Director Emeritus, The Minneapolis Institute

of Arts writes of this ladle, “With careful renditions of

anatomical details like the open mouth, the bright staring eyes,

and the ears that stand up at attention, this canine is clearly a

portrait of the owner’s favorite companion who participated in

the hunt and protected the family.”

This powerful ladle descended within the carving family of

John Young Bear and was likely made by his father or

grandfather. It is quite large with a wide and thinly hewn bowl.

The dog’s head maintains a darkened and complex surface from

generations of use.


In 1962, George E. Morgan was 91 years old and living in a rest home in Gardiner,

Maine. Wanting to do more than paint-by-numbers, Morgan started painting

“memory paintings” of his earlier life along the Kennebec River.

Most of Morgan’s works are map-like landscapes, however these two figurative

works display Morgan’s attention to detail and strong compositional skills. The

painting to the right, “Hazzard Band,” illustrates the factory where he worked.

Church Quire [sic]

George E. Morgan (1870-1969)

Oil on canvas board

Dated: January 1964

Size: 9" x 12"

Provenance: Anne K. Wardwell; Mr. & Mrs. Sumner and Helen Johnston; Joe

Wetherell; Raymond Saroff and Howard Rose; Peter Brams

Exhibitions: The Playhouse, Boothbay, ME 1963; Farnsworth Art Museum,

Rockland, ME, July 16 - October 11, 1998; The Center for Intuitive and Outsider

Art, Chicago, IL, February 5 - April 10,1999


Hazzard Band, Gardiner

George E. Morgan (1870-1969)

Oil on canvas board

Circa: 1963

Size: 12" x 16"

Provenance: Anne K. Wardwell; Mr. & Mrs. Sumner and Helen Johnston; Joe

Wetherell; Raymond Saroff and Howard Rose; Peter Brams

Exhibitions: The Playhouse, Boothbay, ME 1963; Farnsworth Art Museum,

Rockland, ME, July 16 - October 11, 1998; The Center for Intuitive and

Outsider Art, Chicago, IL, February 5 - April 10,1999

Literature: “George E. Morgan; Self Taught Maine Artist,” FOLK ART

MAGAZINE, Summer 1998, p. 32, Chippy Irvine


Two babies in Christening Dresses

Folk Art Painted Tintypes

Circa: 1860

Size: +/- 6 1/2" x 8 1/2" (each full plate)

Provenance: Dr. Stanley Burns

The one of the left, identified on back as “Shaw.”

Young Girl

Folk Art Painted Tintypes

Circa: 1860

Size: 8" x 10" (large plate)

Provenance: Dr. Stanley Burns


Large Folk Art Poppet of Young Man

Circa: 1870-1890

Size: 24 1/2" (oah)

Provenance: Private Midwestern Collection

Found a number of years ago in Kentucky, this

large folk art carving is well executed with an

expressive face and clothing details. The artist

captured a slight sense of movement with a bend

to the knees and the figure's hands going into his

pockets. Remains of polychrome—black to hair

and eyebrows, green lapels and a red shirt.


Young Siblings (Redheads)

Folk Art Painted Tintype

Circa: 1860

Size: +/- 6 1/2" x 8 1/2" (full plate)


Man in Top Hat on a Cartoon Horse with Sun-Face Sky

Folk Art Painted Tintype

Circa: 1860

Size: 2 11/16" x 3 7/8" (custom size)

Provenance: Charles W. Jenks, Providence, RI (19thC

collector of photography).


Important African American

Folk Art Carved Cane

Circa: 1881

Size: 36" (oah)

This spirited carving is not

only remarkable for its’

prodigious carvings, it is

the inspired, non-formulaic

execution that makes

it exceptional.

The forty or so carvings

feature; a large capuchin

monkey at the top with a

turtle fetish set into it

(under glass). What follows

is a whole lot of carving;

clusters of shore

birds, 16 or so African

American male heads, a

few snakes, an elephant, a

few dogs, etc.

The male heads all appear

to be African American

which would point to the

race of its carver. The cane

is signed and dated, “BY

TG 1881.”


African American Face Mask

Glazed stoneware

Circa: 1920

Size: 7" (h) x 5" (w)


Folk Art Erotic Pull Toy

Wood, polychrome, textile

Circa: 1900

Size: 14 1/4" (h)


The Toreador

Edward Byrne (1877 - 1974)

Missouri

oil and pen on board

Circa: 1970

Size: 11" (w) x 6 3/4" (h)

Provenance: Kronen Gallery, New York, NY

Byrne came into painting at 87 years of age and while

living at a rest home like George E. Morgan. He got his

inspiration from newspaper clippings and local real

estate advertisements. Although known for his

semi-abstract architectural works, Byrne loved to paint

animals as well.

This work with its stark composition reminds one of

Bill Traylor’s animal paintings.

Byrne’s work was included in the show, “A Place for Us”

at the American Folk Art Museum, 1996.


Reductive Milliner’s Head

Wood, paint, paper

Circa: 1900

Size: 10" (h)


Study for Monument For Gold Star Mothers

Clyde Angel (1920-2006)

Camanche, Iowa

White paper bag, black and red ink, gold foil

Circa: 1991

Size: 15" (l) x 9" (w)

Born Vernon Clyde Willits, “Angel” was a career welder

in Camanche, Iowa. A World War II veteran, he was

self-taught as an artist and applied his professional

vocation to construct his found object sculpture.

His son Skip Willits, wanting to promote his father’s

work concocted a convoluted and unnecessary “crazy,

homeless, struggling artist” story to make the work

more “meaningful”—it was baloney and tainted on his

father’s credible work.

For more read: “The Made-Up Life and Real Death of

Clyde Angel: The identity of a popular but mysterious outsider

artist is revealed. Or so it seems.”

http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/the-made-up-lifeand-real-death-of-clyde-angel/Content?oid=1205382


Folk Art Make-Do Doll / Circa: 1950 / Size: 9" (h) / Provenance: Marvill Collection


Folk Art Preacher / Circa: 1880 / Size: 5 1/2" (h) / Provenance: Peter Brams Collection


New England Bat House / Carved pine, paint / Circa: 1880 / 16 5/8" (h)


Folk Art Head of a Surprised Man / Carved wood, paint, wool / Circa: 1910 / 7 1/2" (h)


Intense Baby in a Christening Dress

Folk Art Painted Tintype

Circa: 1860

Size: +/- 6 1/2" x 8 1/2" (full plate)


Three Babies

Folk Art Painted Tintypes

Circa: 1860

Size: +/- 6 1/2" x 8 1/2" (two full plate

and one larger)


S T E V E N S . P O W E R S

OUTSIDER

ART FAIR

N E W

Y O R K

J A N U A R Y

19-22, 2017

W O R K S O F

A R T

& a m e r i c a n a

360 Court Street #28, Brooklyn, NY 11231 | 718.625.1715 or 917.518.0809 | stevenspowers.com | member: ADA

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