Discoveries await at Slotin’s Self-Taught Art Masterpiece sale, Nov. 12-13

Minnie Evans, ‘Angelic Woman with Pegasus,’ estimated at $15,000-$20,000

Minnie Evans, ‘Angelic Woman with Pegasus,’ estimated at $15,000-$20,000

BUFORD, Ga. – Slotin Folk Art Auction’s Fall Self-Taught Art Masterpiece Sale presents a wide-ranging exploration of the folk art field from its early days up to today. The 856-lot auction will be held on Saturday, November 12, and Sunday, November 13. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Folk art may occupy a niche in the world of auctions, yet the genre is as expansive as one of the galaxies discovered by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Self-taught art has enjoyed many periods of prominence, during which endless numbers of makers have emerged. This compelling art genre seems to be enjoying yet another comeback as collectors look to expressions that convey genuineness and even grace.

John Orne Johnson (J.O.J.) Frost, ‘At Night, Gale, Hove to, Oct. 23, Started for Home,’ estimated at $25,000-$35,000

John Orne Johnson (J.O.J.) Frost oil on board, ‘At Night, Gale, Hove to, Oct. 23, Started for Home,’ estimated at $25,000-$35,000

No one auction could completely cover self-taught and folk art in full, but Slotin’s Nov. 12-13 sale is especially well-grounded in classics such as a silhouetted drawing of a dog by much-sought Alabama street artist Bill Traylor (1854-1949) and a memory painting of a fishing schooner on the Grand Banks by Marblehead, Massachusetts native John Orne Johnson (J.O.J.) Frost (1852-1928).

Alan Wayne Bradley, aka Haint, ‘Pleroma,’ estimated at $2,000-$4,000

Alan Wayne Bradley, aka Haint, ‘Pleroma,’ estimated at $2,000-$4,000

But there are also some 21st-century jolts such as a geometric cut-out card stock assemblage by artist Alan Wayne Bradley, who goes by the name “Haint” and describes his work as “a family of circles having fun in a psycho-activated inter-dimensional parallel universe.”

Sam Doyle, ‘Dr. Buz Ha Lo!,’ estimated at $30,000-$40,000

Sam Doyle, ‘Dr. Buz Ha Lo!,’ estimated at $30,000-$40,000

“For this sale every fall, we always try to have a strong diversity of self-taught artists,” said Steve Slotin, a principal in the auction house with his wife Amy, “and this one is especially diverse.”

Howard Finster, ‘Giant Elephant,’ estimated at $8,000-$12,000

Howard Finster, ‘Giant Elephant,’ estimated at $8,000-$12,000

That doesn’t happen by accident. Having run Folk Fest, an annual art show drawing dealers, artists and collectors from across the country for 22 years, and having conducted auctions for three decades and counting, Slotin Folk Art draws on long-term relationships to bring top-flight consignments to market.

Mattie Lou O’Kelley, ‘Summer in the Hills,’ estimated at $20,000-$30,000

Mattie Lou O’Kelley, ‘Summer in the Hills,’ estimated at $20,000-$30,000

For instance, the November auction includes works from the thoughtfully constructed collections of Lynne Browne, the longtime Atlanta arts patron who covered self-taught art for Folk Art Messenger magazine for many years; and Tom Patterson, author of books including Howard Finster: Stranger From Another World and St. EOM in the Land of Pasaquan. Whether it’s a familiar or new consigner, Steve Slotin is known for quickly trucking across state lines or across the country to secure blue-chip pieces when they become available.

Bill Traylor, ‘Black Dog,’ estimated at $50,000-$70,000

Bill Traylor, ‘Black Dog,’ estimated at $50,000-$70,000

The bluest of the blue chips in this weekend’s sale looks to be Bill Traylor’s undated Black Dog, commanding the highest estimate at $50,000-$75,000. A larger, circa-1939 work depicting a woman hoisting an umbrella by the once-enslaved Montgomery, Alabama artist was the leading lot of Slotin’s fall 2021 sale, bringing $182,500.

“We always expect a Bill Traylor to be the shining star of any folk art auction, but Black Dog has got really good company in this sale,” Steve Slotin said.

Sam Doyle, ‘Jackie Robinson,’ estimated at $20,000-$30,000

Sam Doyle, ‘Jackie Robinson,’ estimated at $20,000-$30,000

Two large-scale examples by Sam Doyle, the painter who captured life in St. Helena, South Carolina on found roofing tin, are also expected to be among the hottest lots. Jackie Robinson, showing the Hall of Fame second-baseman reaching high to catch a ball, is estimated at $20,000-$30,000; while Dr. Buz Ha Lo! a circa-1983 playful portrait of the island’s doctor holding a conch shell to his ear, carries an estimate of $30,000-$40,000.

Howard Finster, ‘Into the Unknown,’ estimated at $5,000-$10,000

Howard Finster, ‘Into the Unknown,’ estimated at $5,000-$10,000

The Rev. Howard Finster, the prolific rural Northwest Georgia creator whose works are given prominent attention in the High Museum of Art’s permanent collection galleries in Atlanta and who is a Slotin bidder favorite, is well-represented in the November auction. The largest among his 21 lots, Giant Elephant, also carries the highest estimate, at $8,000-$12,000. But the 1985 painting Into the Unknown, showing a road filled with colorfully gowned spirits ascending to heavenly clouds, should tempt enthusiasts of Finster’s spiritual imagery. Its estimate is $5,000-$10,000.

Frank Jones, ‘Large Devil House,’ estimated at $10,000-$15,000

Frank Jones, ‘Large Devil House,’ estimated at $10,000-$15,000

Slotin expects spirited bidding as well for a detailed drawing by Frank Jones, dubbed Large Devil House. Jones drew the work in 1964 while serving a life sentence in the Texas State Penitentiary for a murder that he maintained he did not commit. Estimated at $10,000-$15,000, the lot includes a canceled check for all of $10.20 written to the artist for the purchase.

Sister Gertrude Morgan, ‘Revelation Chart,’ estimated at $4,000-$7,000

Sister Gertrude Morgan, ‘Revelation Chart,’ estimated at $4,000-$7,000

The auction also includes prime examples by African American women artists who have done well at recent Slotin auctions, including Nellie Mae Rowe, Minnie Evans and Sister Gertrude Morgan.

Nellie Mae Rowe, ‘Yellow Girl,’ estimated at $15,000-$20,000

Nellie Mae Rowe, ‘Yellow Girl,’ estimated at $15,000-$20,000

Bidding for Rowe’s three pieces should be animated, what with Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe, the retrospective of the Vinings, Georgia artist, attracting national media attention at the Brooklyn Museum, where it remains on display through January 1, 2023. Rowe’s sumptuously colored Yellow Girl carries the trio’s highest estimate at $15,000-$20,000.

Norbert Kox, ‘These Dry Bones Shall Live,’ estimated at $2,000-$4,000

Norbert Kox, ‘These Dry Bones Shall Live,’ estimated at $2,000-$4,000

On Sunday, November 13, highlights include a rich selection of memory paintings by artists such as Mattie Lou O’Kelley, Marie Keegan and Janet and Charles Munro; apocalyptic paintings and constructions by Wisconsin artist Norbert Kox; as well as walking sticks, quilts and international art.

 

View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/