Mary Ann Willson
ex coll Lipman

Collecting Folk Art in America: How it Began, Who Began It, and Why

Lecture    1:00 pm     Lecture Hall

There wasn’t just one—but several—motives for collectors to begin to gather the primitive portraits, weathervanes, sculptures, and other folk-art objects that mainstream Americans had swept into dustbins or consigned to chicken coops and cowsheds by the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These motives were different from those of today’s collectors of the same objects, and the reasons are fascinating.

Elizabeth Stillinger, independent American decorative arts scholar and lecturer, discusses several of America’s outstanding early collectors of the genre—collectors as important yet as different from one another as Edwin “AtLee” Barber, who formed the renowned collection of “Pennsylvania Dutch stuff” at the Philadelphia Museum; Hamilton Easter Field, who founded the artists’ colony in Ogunquit, Maine, that produced a celebrated group of modern-artist collectors; and Nina Fletcher Little, a proper Bostonian who amassed what was arguably the greatest New England collection of all time—auctioned at her death.

What these pioneers saw in their simple furnishings, paintings, and carvings tells an evolving story of Americans’ perception of themselves—and of the history of ourselves as a people.

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2:00 pm  Lecture Hall 
A Kind of Archeology: Collecting Folk art in America 1876-1976
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Metro Paper
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RED Writing
Genesis: The Stone Sculptures of James W. Washington, Jr.

James W. Washington, Jr. (1909-2000) was born in Gloster, Mississippi.  As a young man he escaped the Jim Crow South via a Civil Service job, moving through Vicksburg, Little Rock and in 1944, settling in Seattle where he quickly became involved in the local art community as a painter and sculptor.