The first of several American Folk Art paintings from an artist's collection that we will be offering in Tangrams, this wonderful image of line dancers by the Alabama artist and blues musician Jimmie (Jimmy) Lee Sudduth (1910 - 2007) is offered beautifully archivally matted and framed ready to display.
Probably dating from the late 1980s, this signed painting appears to be paint and pigment, but it might be ochre mud and turquoise on brown paper. Size: 13 7/16" x 12 5/16" sight. Frame: 20 7/8" x 19 1/8".
Provenance: American private collection.
Please note that we have not examined the work out of the frame and that all photos were shot through glass with the usual shadows and reflections. The turquoise pigment is vibrant and striking -- the 4th photo probably depicts this best, even with the shadow.
"Jimmy Lee Sudduth's fertile imagination has led him to paint self-portraits, dogs, television personalities, and the architecture and landscape near his home in Fayette, Alabama, as well as views of New York and other cities. In Big City Skyline, rows of people filing across a bridge toward a crowded mass of towering skyscrapers emphasize the anonymity of life in America's large cities. Sudduth's materials—mud mixed with sugar water and color extracted from weeds and vegetables—are no less inventive than his themes. He rarely uses canvases or brushes, preferring to use his fingers to paint with clay, mud, sand, and soot on plywood."
Lynda Hartigan Contemporary Folk Art: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (exhibition text, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 1999)
"Jimmy Lee Sudduth was born on March 10, 1910. He was raised on a farm at Caines Ridge, near Fayette, Alabama. He began making art as a child, surrounding the porch of his parents' house with hand-carved wooden dolls and drawing in the dirt or on tree trunks outside. As his talents became known in the community he began collecting pigments from earth, rocks plants, foodstuffs, and industrial products for use in his finger paintings. He used his fingers because "they never wore out." His numerous works were typically executed on found surfaces such as plywood, doors, and boards from demolished buildings. He experimented with mixing his pigments with various binders to make them adhere better, including syrup, sugar, soft drinks, and caulk.
His first public art exhibition was held in 1968 at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa. A 1971 exhibition in his home town of Fayette earned regional attention and, beginning that year, he became a featured artist at the annual Kentuck Festival of the Arts in Northport, Alabama. In 1976, he was invited to play harmonica and exhibit some of his painting at the Smithsonian Institution's Bicentennial Festival of American Folk Life. He appeared on the Today Show and 60 Minutes in 1980. He was honored with the Alabama Arts Award in 1995 and served as an artist-in-residence at the New Orleans Museum of Art. His work is featured in many collections, including the Smithsonian Institution, the High Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery, the Birmingham Museum of Art and the House of Blues.
He was one of the early masters of southern art. He was an active member of his community, and his work, though idiosyncratic, is firmly grounded in the African American culture of the rural South. He drew his subject matter from the world around him: people he knew (and celebrities), architecture, farm scenes, machinery, flowers, and animals of e woods and barnyard. Very rarely, he portrayed a religious figure such as Christ, Moses, or John the Baptist.
Although it is commonly believed that Sudduth's early paintings were executed exclusively in mud and found pigments, such as motor oil or plant juices, in fact, his earliest known paintings contain large amounts of house paint. As his fame grew, dealers advised Sudduth on ways to make his works more permanent and more colorful, and by the 1990s, no longer able to collect his own materials, he began using commercially-sold acrylic paints, applied with sponge brushes onto wood panels prepared with a flat black ground." Wikipedia.
Jimmie / Jimmy Lee Sudduth Folk Art Painting Line Dancers