BUFORD, Ga. – A changing of the guard among folk art collectors is responsible for making an array of early, museum-worthy works available for the first time at auction. That’s readily apparent in the catalog for Slotin Folk Art Auction’s Fall Self-Taught Art Masterpiece Sale, to be held November 13-14. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Steve Slotin explains that the quality vintage works going on the block are the result of older collectors now reaching the age where they are willing to let go of art that they purchased in the 1970s and 1980s, often directly from self-taught artists.
“These are wonderful examples,” the Slotin Folk Art Auction co-owner says. “What we’re seeing is very early collectors reaching the point where they’re ready for the next generation to take the torch and to represent the very best of self-taught art and to extend the field. These more-senior collectors have enjoyed these great pieces for decades, and now they see that the next generation is excited to pick up the torch and run with it.”
Many examples among the 331 lots to be offered on November 13 and the 219 lots on November 14 are works by artists showcased in major museum exhibits currently on view.
For instance, Atlanta’s High Museum of Art has mounted two major folk exhibits that will tour nationally: Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe, the first major exhibition of the Vinings, Georgia folk artist in more than 20 years (which will be displayed through January 9, 2022); and Gatecrashers: The Rise of the Self-Taught Artist in America, covering the rising popularity of artists without formal training in the years after World War I (which will be on show through December 11). Slotin’s Fall Self-Taught Art Masterpiece Sale not only includes four prime drawings and paintings and one hand-stitched doll by Rowe (1900-1982), but also excellent examples by artists featured in Gatecrashers, including five oils on canvas by New York artist Lawrence Lebduska (1894-1966).
A strong showing of African American artists from the South, especially women, was a highlight of Slotin’s Spring Self-Taught Art Masterpiece Sale in April. That trend will continue in the November sale, with significant pieces available by artists such as Bill Traylor (a pencil drawing estimated at $60,000-$80,000), Sam Doyle, Sister Gertrude Morgan and Clementine Hunter.
The Rev. Howard Finster, the rural Northwest Georgia artist whose works are showcased in the High Museum’s permanent collection and who is a Slotin favorite, is represented by a dozen works.
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