Boldly expressive and extremely rare for its period, which we assume from the date on the bottom to be 1907, this antique sculpture of a Haitian or African-American workingman radiates a deep, even somber, persistence in the face of hardship. The elongated figure clasps his old-fashioned straw broom with a sort of stately weariness, his bare feet a testament to his poverty, as is his simple and well-worn clothing. While there is a deliberate naivete in the artist's handling of the figure, the face, with its long, deeply knowing eyes, is a gem of the sculptor's art. This boldly expressive face has soul: confronting despair, it has chosen dignity.
We cannot identify this sculptor, but from the Haitian name Ulrick Simeon, carved into the base, we guess he may have been Haitian.
The carving is of a dense and heavy wood, possibly mahogany, and has an especially beautiful patina -the deep black-brown of espresso beans.
He stands 25 3/4" tall on a & 1/2" by 5 /4" base. There are some age cracks in the wood: on the base, the middle of his back, across his left forearm and from his crotch up through his belly. None of these cracks go all the way through the wood.
Item ID: Black boy wood sculpture