African-American Folk art, Antiques, and Quilts

      Folk art, antiques, and outsider art  

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African-American carvingAfrican-American carving
Impressive, large African-American carving
Velvet African-American quilt
Velvet African-American quilt
from Savannah, GA
Odd Fellows ceremonial apron
19th c. African-American
fraternal ceremonial costume panel

Large African-American
Carved hand and egg
Carving of man with cow by Mr. Benjamin
Carving of man with cow by Mr. Benjamin
African-American carvingAfrican-American carving of mother and children
Two exceptional, large, African-American
carvings by the same anonymous maker
Folky cupboard
Folky African-American
church cupboard
Pinwheel quilt
African-American
Pinwheel quilt
African-American doll bedAfrican-American doll bed
Two strong, primitive, African-American doll beds
Outsider art concrete faces
Group of concrete and found object faces by African-American outsider artist Betty Davis

African-American carvingAfrican-American carvingAn incredible, large carving of three generations of an African-American family. It looks like a wedding, with the younger woman wearing a veil and the older woman carrying a tray of drinks. While the pictures give a reasonable indication of this pieces, there is a great deal of subtleness and richness in shading and feel that does not show. There is also much greater detail in the actual piece - more than even in the closeups. Perhaps most importantly - there is a deep, personal feeling that is conveyed through the carving in person. It can be touched on slightly in the photos, but is much stronger in reality. The word "impressive" is not quite right; rather there is an "impression" of the people and their life that is felt.

The carving is southern, we believe from Louisiana originally; the wood may be cypress. It is 26 1/2" high by 15" wide by 12" deep, probably from the early 1900's. The initials "N J" are carved into the base. The condition is very good, but as you can see, part of the child's arm has been missing for quite a while, and there is an age split in the base. The price is $6,800.00. Inventory Code: ASTO.   See a slideshow of several views. [1.7 Mb] ... African-American carving ... Closeup ... Another angle ... A third view ... Another closeup ... A third closeup ... One side ... The other side ... Back views ... Closeup, from side ... Closeup other side ... Closeup from behind ... Middle back ... From above ... The child from above ... Another view from above ... Closeup of middle ... Closeup of child ... Second closeup of child ... Third closeup of child ... Fourth closeup of child ... Feet ... The base, with initials ... Two more overall views ... With a soda can, for scale.
Some much larger photos:   African-American carving ... Closeup ... Another angle ... A third view ... Another closeup ... From above.

Carving of man with cow by Mr. BenjaminThis is a wonderful, strange, and old carved assemblage of a man leading a cow, by an African-American named Mr. Benjamin, who lived in South Georgia. Here is a photo of him. There is little more information on this apparently untrained artist. It has an odd sensibility combining out of perspective elements with a quirky sense of humor. The man's face is very expressive, which does not show well in the photos. The cow is sticking out its tongue. It is carved from softwoods and walnut. It is about 13" long by 8" high by 3 1/2" deep. The surface is finished with several color of paint and varnish. It is from the 1920's or 30's, in very good condition. The price is $675.00. Inventory Code: CAWW.   See a slideshow of several views [633k] ... Carving of man with cow ... Another angle ... Side view ... The other side ... Front view ... Back view ... From above ... From below ... With a soda can for scale.
Some much larger photos:   Carving of man with cow ... Another angle ... Side view ... The other side ... Front view ... Back view ... From above ... From below.

This is a great African-American carving, very large and striking, of a hand holding up an egg. It was carved from a section of a large log. This piece has an enormous "look" and presence. It stands 31" high, and the irregularly shaped base is approximately 16" in diameter - about 19" across at its widest. The carving was found in southern Somerset Co, PA or northern Garret Co, MD in the early 1970's, although it is much older than that. It has remained in a private collection for the last 30 years or so. The age splits, visible in the photo, do not affect the stability or solidity. The condition is very good. The price is $3500.00. Inventory Code: TASP.   Carved hand and egg ... Three more views ... Different angles ... Closeup of the hand and egg ... Second closeup ... Third closeup ... Fourth closeup ... Fifth closeup ... Closeup from above ... Very close of the fingers ... Another very close shot ... Closeup of base ... Another closeup of base ... Third closeup of base.

Large African-American carvingThis is a very large, powerful African-American carving of a man and lion. The mane of the lion makes up the man's hair. It stands almost 3 feet high - 33" by 13" by 22", and is hand carved from ancient swamp-submerged cypress with a varnish finish. This is one of three known carvings by the same anonymous artist found in Florida. We are told that one of them was found in a black neighborhood in Jacksonville, FL. This one has been in a private collection for about the last 30 years, and was probably made around the 1940's. We have a second one available below. Overall the condition is very good, and it is very sturdy. There is an old crack on one of the lion's teeth, a very old drying crack around and underneath the lion's chin (which is still very strong), and a few scuffs in the finish. The price is $3400.00. Inventory Code: AAHW.   See a slideshow of several views [1.1 Mb] ... Overall image ... Closeup ... Another closeup ... Third closeup ... Another overall view ... Side view ... Back view ... The lion side ... Another view of the lion ... The lion, from above ... From above ... Another view from above ... A different angle from above ... With a yardstick for scale.
With the other carving by the same maker, below:   Both carvings together ... Another angle ... A third view ... From above.

Some much larger photos:   Overall image ... Closeup ... Another closeup ... Third closeup ... Another overall view ... With a yardstick for scale.
With the other carving by the same maker, below:   Both carvings together ... Another angle ... A third view ... From above.

African-American carving of mother and childrenThis is a fairly large, and visually very strong carving. It is of an African-American woman with two children. It is 31" high by 17 1/2" wide by 12" deep. The boy is wearing overalls. This piece is hand carved from ancient swamp-submerged cypress with a varnish finish. It is one of three known carvings by the same anonymous artist that were found in Florida. We have one of the other two above. It is even larger, and is a combination of a lion and a man. This one has been in a private collection for many years. It was probably made no more recently than around the 1940's. The condition is very good, and it is very sturdy. The price is $1,800.00. Inventory Code: TROR.   See a slideshow of several views [1 Mb] ... African-American carving of mother and children ... Closeup of the woman's face ... Closeup of the children ... Another closeup of the children ... Side views ... Back view ... From above ... From below ... Another view from below ... With a yardstick and soda can for scale.
With the other carving by the same maker, above:   Both carvings together ... Another angle ... A third view ... From above.

Some much larger photos:   African-American carving of mother and children ... Closeup of the woman's face ... Closeup of the children ... Another closeup of the children ... Side views ... Back view ... With a yardstick and soda can for scale.
With the other carving by the same maker, above:   Both carvings together ... Another angle ... A third view ... From above.

Velvet African-American quiltThis is an African-American quilt with great graphics. It is made from plain and patterned velvets and fake fur, hand pieced and appliqued onto a muslin backing to give a quilted effect without an extra layer of quilting stitches. There is no batting. The back was made in four large blocks, and unfinished edges show where these come together. This quilt measures 72" by 77" and is in excellent, unused condition. There is one discolored spot on the back that does not show through on the front. This was purchased from an African-American church sale in Savannah, GA in the 1970's. A wonderful look for hanging or on a bed. The price is $1200.00. Inventory Code: TPAK.   See a slideshow of several views [359k] ... Velvet African-American quilt ... Closeup ... Closeup 2 ... Closeup 3 ... Closeup 4 ... Closeup 5 ... Closeup 6 ... Closeup 7 ... Back ... Closeup of back ... Second closeup of back ... Third closeup of back ... Closeup of spot on back ... Closeup of back corner.

Odd Fellows ceremonial apronThis is a beautiful and rare ceremonial costume panel from the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, an early African-American fraternal group. Called an apron, it was worn by some of the men of the lodge. It dates from the middle to late 1800s, and has been mounted on red fabric, in an oak frame under glass. The image was printed on silk, with satin ribbon borders and part of the cotton cord waistband. Some of the many symbols include the All-Seeing Eye, sun, moon, and stars, Noah's Ark, dove of peace, skull and cross bones, heart in hand, and much more. The piece itself measures 15" by 15", the frame is 20 1/2" by 20 1/2". It is in very good condition with minor foxing and staining, slight separation of one corner of the border, and what looks like a bit of paint on the lower left of the border. There is also some slight wear and scuffing to the frame, and damage to the paper backing of the frame.

There is some interesting history of the G. U. O. of O. F. here and here. Yale University Library has a video here that shows a lodge parade, with many of the men wearing similar aprons (about 4:10 into the video). The price is $975.00. Inventory Code: CCRP.   Odd Fellows ceremonial apron ... Closeup ... Side views ... Back of frame ... With a soda can for scale.
Some much larger photos:   Odd Fellows ceremonial apron ... Closeup ... Side views ... Back of frame ... With a soda can for scale.

This is a very folky cupboard that came out of an African-American church near Rutherfordton, NC. The front and sides are pine tongue and groove wood called bead. The front is decorated with carved pine trim. It is finished in a medium brown varnish which is somewhat crazed. There are three doors, each hinged at the bottom, opening into three compartments. It stands 68 1/2" high, 28" wide and 15" deep. This striking and unusual piece was made in the early 1900's. It is in very good condition, sturdy and useable. There is a small mousehole on one side, and the trim on the upper door has been replaced. The price is $4800.00. Inventory Code: AWKP.   African-American church cupboard ... 3/4 view ... 3/4 view, other side ... Closeup of the top ... Closeup of the upper door ... Closeup of the middle door ... Closeup of the lower door ... With Matt for size ... With the middle door open ... With the top two doors open ... With the bottom door open ... One side ... The other side ... Back.

Pinwheel quiltThis is an African-American quilt in a vivid, folky pinwheel pattern. The cotton fabrics have hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades woven in. The colors are a medium blue with white, and a warm terracotta orange and white. Sometimes the back of the fabric was used for variation. The back is cotton muslin, and the batting is polyester. It measures 65" by 78", and looks great hung or on a bed. This quilt was made in Texas, probably c. 1980's, and is in excellent, crisp, unused condition. There is one small dark spot on the front, 1" by 1/2" which does not go through to the back. It was probably on the fabric before the quilt was put together. It is hand pieced and hand quilted. The back was folded over and machine stitched to finish the edges. The price is $475.00. Inventory Code: TPAW.   Pinwheel quilt ... Closeup of one block ... Closeup of two blocks ... Extreme closeup of fabric patterns ... Closeup of one corner ... Closeup of the spot ... Back ... Closeup of back ... Second closeup of back.

African-American doll bedHere are two African-American doll's beds, found in Tennessee. They have a strong, primitive look with differences in detail from one to the other. Each is built of pine with a plywood bottom, and painted red with silver decoration. The age appears to be approximately from the 1940's. The construction is somewhat rough. This bed has winged figures on the head and foot boards. It stands 18" high by 25 1/2" long by 17 1/2" wide. The paint is slightly weathered. It is in very good condition. The price is $275.00. Inventory Code: TKRH.   See a slideshow of several views [720k] ... African-American doll bed ... End view ... The other end ... Side view ... The other side ... Closeup ... From above ... From below ... With the other bed (below) ... Both beds, with a yardstick and soda can for scale.
Some much larger photos:   African-American doll bed ... End view ... The other end ... Closeup.

African-American doll bedThis second doll bed is decorated with crosses on the head and foot boards. It shows traces of green paint beneath the red. The paint is somewhat more weathered than on the other bed, with some nice alligatored texture. It also has older drawings on the bottom of the plywood, including a multicolored flower. A strip of the bottom plywood is missing. It is 18" high by 25 1/2" long by 18" wide. The price is $275.00. Inventory Code: TKRW.   See a slideshow of several views [852k] ... African-American doll bed ... Another view ... Front view ... Back view ... Side view ... The other side ... Closeup of surface ... Another closeup ... From below ... From above ... With the other bed (above) ... Both beds, with a yardstick and soda can for scale.
Some much larger photos:   African-American doll bed ... Another view ... Front view ... Back view ... Side view ... Closeup of surface ... From below.

Outsider art concrete faces

Here are eight unusual and folky faces made from concrete and found objects then painted. These were done by Betty Davis, an outsider artist from Gonzales, TX. Each face has its own personality. These were made approximately 1999 and are in excellent condition. They are described and priced individually below.   A photo of the artist ... Larger view of all faces.

Outsider art concrete faceThis is the largest face. It is painted yellow, blue, and white. It is 19 1/2" high by 15 1/2" wide by about 1 1/2" deep. The price is $475.00. Inventory Code: CCOP.   Largest face ... Side view ... From below ... Back view ... With a soda can for scale.
Some much larger photos:   Largest face ... Side view ... From below ... Back view ... With a soda can for scale.

Outsider art concrete faceThis heart-shaped face is painted blue, red, and black, with eyes bulging out and hair standing on end. It is 11" high by 7 1/2" wide by about 2 1/4" deep. The price is $375.00. Inventory Code: CCWC.   Blue and red face, with a soda can for scale ... Side views ... Back.
Some much larger photos:   Blue and red face, with a soda can for scale ... Side views ... Back.

Outsider art concrete faceThis face is painted white, with iridescent green glass eyes. It is 8 1/2" high by 6" wide by about 2 1/2" deep. The price is $375.00. Inventory Code: CCWH.   White face with green eyes ... Side views ... Back ... With a soda can for scale.
Some much larger photos:   White face with green eyes ... Side views ... Back ... With a soda can for scale.

Outsider art concrete facesThis is a plaque with three faces. They have colored beads for eyes. It is 7 1/2" high by 12 1/2" wide by about 2" deep. The price is $425.00. Inventory Code: CCOS.   Group of three faces ... Side views ... From below ... Back ... With a soda can for scale.
Some much larger photos:   Group of three faces ... Side views ... From below ... Back ... With a soda can for scale.

Outsider art concrete facesThis is a plaque with three women's faces. Two of them are wearing costume jewelry. It is 8" high by 12" wide by about 1 3/4" deep. The price is $425.00. Inventory Code: CCWR.   Three faces, with costume jewelry ... Side view ... From below ... Back ... With a soda can for scale.
Some much larger photos:   Three faces, with costume jewelry ... Side view ... From below ... Back ... With a soda can for scale.

Outsider art concrete faceThis face is painted a greenish/gray with blue/gray lips. It has rows of Phillips head screws for eyebrows. It is 11 3/4" high by 6 3/4" wide by about 2" deep. The price is $375.00. Inventory Code: CCWW.   Gray face, screws for eyebrows ... Side views ... From below ... Back ... With a soda can for scale.
Some much larger photos:   Gray face, screws for eyebrows ... Side views ... From below ... Back ... With a soda can for scale.

Outsider art concrete faceThis face has metal discs for eyebrows, metal watch band teeth, and a tongue of either ceramic or polished stone. It is unpainted except for the lips and measures 14 1/2" high by 9" wide by about 2 3/4" deep. The price is $375.00. Inventory Code: CCWO.   Face with metal teeth, with a soda can for scale ... Side views ... From above and below ... Back.
Some much larger photos:   Face with metal teeth, with a soda can for scale ... Side views ... From above and below ... Back.

Outsider art concrete faceThis blue face has darker blue lips and large glass or plastic marbles for eyes. The eyes were painted over, then part of the paint removed in the center. They glow when they catch the light at the right angle. It is 13 1/2" high by 10 wide by about 2" deep. The price is $375.00. Inventory Code: CCWK.   Blue face with glass eyes ... Side views ... From above and below ... Back ... With a soda can for scale.
Some much larger photos:   Blue face with glass eyes ... Side views ... From above and below ... Back ... With a soda can for scale.

 

 



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