Brill collection of outsider art enters the spotlight at Heritage March 13

Clementine Hunter, 'Mustard Jar with Flowers', estimated at $3,000-$5,000 at Heritage.

DALLAS — Billed as the “Brill Collection,” Heritage has announced Outsider Art, a small, 70-lot event scheduled for Wednesday, March 13. The catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Best remembered for her amazing output (estimated at 10,000) of paintings in her life, Clementine Hunter (1886-1988) was one of the first recognized members of the outsider art movement. Only starting to paint in her fifties, Hunter began selling her works for 25 cents, but by the time of her passing, she was nationally recognized. This repurposed Pommery Mustard clay jar has been painted and decorated with floral touches by Hunter, and comes with provenance directly from the artist. It is estimated at $3,000-$5,000.

Baptist minister and artist Howard Finster (1916-2001) has 12 items in the sale. Like many, he labored in obscurity for decades, toiling at his Paradise Garden museum that eventually housed 46,000 works. He gained fame when he created album cover artwork for REM and the Talking Heads. This group of five cutout figures dates to 1990-1999 and are together estimated at $2,000-$3,000.

Miami’s own Purvis Young (1943-2010) created works that were part painting and part collage. His works reside in the collections of many celebrities and have been widely exhibited. The sale features 12 pieces by Young, including Cityscape (Giant), a mixed-media on joined panel measuring 25.5 by 35.5in. It carries an estimate of $2,000-$3,000.

Lee Godie (1908-1994) lived an inexplicable life, sleeping in freezing Chicago temperatures or in transient hotels, despite having money and better options available. Her figural works are classically naive, with large eyes being a defining element. Woman with a Headband is an undated mixed-media on board signed ‘By Godie’. It is estimated at $1,000-$1,500.

Peter Cecere Latin American folk and outsider art at Quinn’s Jan. 26

Painted and carved wood Mexican mermaid body mask, most likely from Guerrero, estimated at $600-$900 as part of Quinn’s sale of the Peter Cecere collection.

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Eccentric? Visionary? An American original? All three descriptions apply to the late Peter Cecere, a career foreign service and cultural affairs officer who collected Latin American folk and outsider art for more than 50 years.

It was while posted to the Latin American embassies of Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay, Mexico, and latterly Spain that Cecere began to voraciously acquire the art he felt best reflected grass-roots regional cultures. He estimated that, in his lifetime, he owned between 20,000 and 30,000 pieces. A 1990 auction, together with gifts to museums, winnowed down that number, but a renewed vigor for collecting in subsequent decades contributed to the vast holdings that Quinn’s will begin to disperse on Friday, January 26. Bidding on the 405 lots is available via LiveAuctioneers.

Cecere loved the tales that came with each of these objects. “After I die, there’s no more stories,” Cecere said in a 2018 video documentary about his collection – but the colorful narrative that surrounds this idiosyncratic collection is doubtless part of its appeal. At Cecere’s barn-like residence in rural Rappahannock County, Virginia, both the interior and the exterior were crammed with whimsical scrap-metal animals, peasant devotional works and works of macabre art. In the great room, floating from an artfully painted iridescent sky-ceiling, there were angels, devils, and even a flying cucumber-shape ‘bomb’ named Cuke Nuke.

Paintings were displayed on every available wall space, including a series of pop-culture-inspired artworks by African American outsider Chuckie Williams (Louisiana, 1957-2000).They include an acrylic-on-plywood painting of pop star Madonna that was exhibited at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore in 2010-11. It carries one of the sale’s higher estimates at $1,500-$2,500.

A carved and painted wood mermaid body mask, most likely from Guerrero, Mexico and estimated at $600-$900, is a piece that has resided in Cecere’s collection for close to half a century – he bought it for $425 at El Bazar Sabado in Mexico City in 1977 – and he thought particularly highly of his menagerie of oversize Mexican ‘yard art’ animal sculptures. Each fashioned from oil drums or other discarded metal, there are several roosters in the sale, including an 8ft 4in giant estimated at $1,500-$2,500.

Self-taught and outsider art takes spotlight at Slotin Nov. 11-12

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BUFORD, Ga. — Slotin Folk Art has been a longtime champion of outsider and self-taught art, with sales devoted to what it calls “the Strange, The Unusual, The Vanishing America.” The auction house returns with a two-day sale of Self-Taught Art Masterpieces on Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12. The catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers (Day 1, Day 2).

As is common with outsider art, the stories of the creators are as compelling as the artworks themselves.

The sale leads with the strange and sad tale of Adolf Wolfli (1964-1930). Abused as a child, he would continue the cycle and go on to abuse children in adulthood, ultimately being convicted and imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital in Switzerland. There, he began to draw, and when an attending psychiatrist examined him and later wrote a book about Wolfli, the world of outsider art (or art brut) was born, with Wolfli at the center of it.

The sale leads with Wolfli’s Bangali Firework, a 1926 graphite and colored pencil on paper. Described as a “masterpiece example,” the 24.5 by 18.5in work is estimated at $65,000-$95,000.

The life of Eugene Von Bruenchenhein (1910–1983) is another classic outsider tale. Born in small-town Wisconsin, Eugene was largely self-taught and went on to create incredible paintings, sculptures (often from chicken bones), photographs (many of his wife Marie) and even staged elaborate and bizarre theatrical performances in the former storefront of his father’s business in Milwaukee. His early work experience at a florist gave him a love for horticulture, which shows up in paintings such as Untitled Number 347, dated to September of 1955. The stunning floral work is estimated at $8,000-$12,000.

Well-known outsider artist Jimmy Lee Sudduth (1910-2007) is represented by nine works in the sale. Growing up on his family farm, Sudduth used whatever art materials he could make or find, including natural pigments and mud. In his last years, he began to use more standard paints, such as is seen in Train To Tuscaloosa, a 1995 work featuring mud and paint on board. Like many of his works, it’s large, measuring 50 by 25in. The work carries an estimate of $1,000-$2,000.
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Adolf Wolfli, ‘Bangali Firework,’ estimated at $65,000-$95,000 at Slotin Folk Art.
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Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, ‘Untitled Number 347,’ estimated at $8,000-$12,000 at Slotin Folk Art.
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Jimmy Lee Sudduth, ‘Train To Tuscaloosa,’ estimated at $1,000-$2,000 at Slotin Folk Art.
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Thornton Dial, ‘Tigers Like To Play,’ estimated at $12,000-$17,000 at Slotin Folk Art.
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Richard Burnside, ‘Red Dog,’ estimated at $300-$500 at Slotin Folk Art.
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Johnny Culver, ‘Mystic Vision,’ estimated at $2,000-$3,000 at Slotin Folk Art.
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Constellation of American folk stars shine at Ledbetter’s quarterly sale Sept. 23

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GIBSONVILLE, N.C. — A wide range of American folk art comes to auction at Ledbetter Folk Art Auction’s next quarterly event, scheduled for Saturday, September 23. The sale is now available for review and bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

As usual, Ledbetter has assembled a wide variety of artists from across various media, with the focus in this sale on paintings and face jugs. Some of the names include Howard Finster (1916-2001), Myrtice West (1923-2010), Sarah Mary Taylor (1916-2000), Nikifor Krinicki (1895-1968), Jimmy Lee Sudduth (1910-2007), Benny Carter (1943-2014) and Marcia Muth (1919-2014).

Estimated at $10,000-$20,000, an early Howard Finster original, numbered 2,651 out of 47,000 or so total works and titled Man with the Facts of the Truth, is signed bottom-center and measures 42 by 24in. This item hails from the Larry Hackley collection.

From her website comes the best possible explanation for Alabama’s Myrtice West’s art: “I’d like to say I’m not much of an artist as I don’t have much of an education or training … I know also I am not a writer and unless Christ comes in, I am afraid I can’t explain how I did these pictures or why.”

Her untitled Genesis chapters 1, 2, and 3 artwork measures 37in square and takes the form of oil on canvas. It carries an estimate of $2,000-$4,000.

Sarah Mary Taylor is best known for her appliqué-heavy style of quilting, and this example from the Larry Hackley collection, measuring 81 by 84in, demonstrates why she was elevated to folk art-stardom beginning in 1970. The quilt is estimated at $2,000-$4,000.

Face jugs are one of the most recognizable of all American folk art forms, having originally been designed to keep evil spirits away from the dearly departed. A total of 46 lots appear in Ledbetter’s sale, with this Billy Ray Hussey Jack-O-Lantern God’s Light face jug, dated 2022, carrying the highest estimate at $800-$1,200.

Browse the complete catalog now and register to bid at LiveAuctioneers.
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Howard Finster, painting #2,651, ‘Man With The Facts of Truth,’ estimated at $10,000-$20,000 at Ledbetter Folk Art Auction.
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Myrtice West painting on canvas, estimated at $2,000-$4,000 at Ledbetter Folk Art Auction.
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Sarah Mary Taylor quilt, estimated at $2,000-$4,000 at Ledbetter Folk Art Auction.
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Billy Ray Hussey God’s Light face jug, estimated at $800-$1,200 at Ledbetter Folk Art Auction.
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Bid Smart: Self-taught artist Joseph Yoakum, king of the mountain

Joseph Yoakum’s view of ‘Mt. Alpha of Brooks Range Near Wiseman, Alaska U.S.A.,’ made $32,000 plus the buyer’s premium in April 2022. Image courtesy of Slotin Folk Art and LiveAuctioneers.
Joseph Yoakum’s view of ‘Mt. Alpha of Brooks Range Near Wiseman, Alaska U.S.A.,’ made $32,000 plus the buyer’s premium in April 2022. Image courtesy of Slotin Folk Art and LiveAuctioneers.
Joseph Yoakum’s view of ‘Mt. Alpha of Brooks Range Near Wiseman, Alaska U.S.A.’ made $32,000 plus the buyer’s premium in April 2022. Image courtesy of Slotin Folk Art and LiveAuctioneers.

NEW YORK — Many of the most renowned self-taught artists didn’t begin painting until late in life. Grandma Moses was 77, Clementine Hunter was in her 50s and Bill Traylor in his 80s. Most had to wait until their golden years, when they were no longer working to feed their families and had time to pursue a passion for art. For some, the decision came in a dream. Such was the case with Joseph E. Yoakum (1891–1972). Growing up poor on Chicago’s South Side with little schooling, he was drafted into the Army during World War I and served overseas before returning to Chicago. The troubled Yoakum led a mostly itinerant life, leaving home to work in circuses as a handyman, and, for a short time, he was institutionalized in a Chicago mental hospital.

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House party: Don Baum creation was among outsider highlights at Potter & Potter sale

One of Don Baum's untitled assemblage art houses, $2,400. Image courtesy of Potter & Potter Auctions
One of Don Baum's untitled assemblage art houses, $2,400. Image courtesy of Potter & Potter Auctions
Don Baum, untitled art house assembled from multiple pieces, $2,400. Courtesy Potter & Potter Auctions

CHICAGO – Potter & Potter Auctions‘ Outsider, Folk, and Fine Art Sale, which took place on June 28, totaled nearly $271,000. The sale offered 570 category-spanning lots and was the debut auction for Aron Packer, the company’s new director and specialist of its Fine & Outsider Art division. Absentee and Internet live bidding was facilitated through LiveAuctioneers.

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Jasper52 offers Americana, Folk Art, and Outsider Art, July 13

Detail of blue and white cotton sampler quilt dating to 1918, estimated at $1,200-$1,500
Blue and white cotton sampler quilt dating to 1918, estimated at $1,200-$1,500
Blue and white cotton sampler quilt dating to 1918, estimated at $1,200-$1,500

NEW YORK – On Thursday, July 13, starting at 6 pm Eastern time, Jasper52 will conduct a sale of Americana, Folk Art, and Outsider Art. Of course, the auction, as with many before it, is curated by Clifford Wallach, an expert in tramp art, folk art and Americana. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Jasper52 serves up Americana, folk art and outsider art, June 29

Circa-1825 Staffordshire hexagonal soup tureen, estimated at $3,000-$3,500
Circa-1825 Staffordshire hexagonal soup tureen, estimated at $3,000-$3,500
Circa-1825 Staffordshire hexagonal soup tureen, estimated at $3,000-$3,500

NEW YORK – On Thursday, June 29, starting at 6 pm Eastern time, Jasper52 will present its next sale of Americana, Folk Art and Outsider Art. As always, the sale is curated by Clifford Wallach, an expert in Americana, tramp art and folk art. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Everard to auction art, jewelry, furniture from fine Southern estates, June 20-21

Framed view of Sanford Robinson Gifford’s (American, 1823-1880) ‘Hudson River Scenery,’ artist-signed oil on canvas on board. Size: 22in x 31 3/8in framed; 10¾in x 19 15/16in sight. Authenticated by leading Sanford Robinson Gifford scholar Dr. Ila Weiss. Provenance: a Bluffton, S.C. private collection via family descent from a New Jersey art collector who had inherited the work in the mid-1940s. Estimate $60,000-$80,000

SAVANNAH, Ga. – The carefully curated selections featured in Everard Auctions’ June 20-21 Southern Estates and Collections online auction exemplify centuries of excellence and quality across a broad range of fine and decorative art. Highlights include a newly discovered and expertly authenticated waterscape by Sanford Robinson Gifford, John J Audubon’s White Heron, a sizable collection of outsider art, sterling silver, mid-century modern furniture, Asian art, jewelry, watches and autographed sports collectibles. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

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1930s quilt stars in Americana, Folk Art, and Outsider Art sale, June 1

Detail of unusual 1930s Wedding Ring Stars pattern quilt, estimated at $700-$1,000
Unusual 1930s Wedding Ring Stars pattern quilt, estimated at $700-$1,000
Unusual 1930s Wedding Ring Stars pattern quilt, estimated at $700-$1,000

NEW YORK – On Thursday, June 1, starting at 6 pm Eastern time, Jasper52 will conduct a sale of Americana, Folk Art, and Outsider Art. As always, the sale is curated by Clifford Wallach, an expert in tramp art, folk art and Americana. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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