Posts Tagged ‘naive art’

Artist of the moment…..Albert Reverend Wagner


Time for some outsider art/ naïve art. Even if you think the drawings or style is something your child might do, often times the stories behind the artists of outsider art are very interesting. We will take a look at Albert Reverend Wagner and after that Clementine Hunter, the Grandma Moses of the South.

Albert Reverend Wagner was born in Arkansas in the year 1924. The artist family worked in the cotton fields. At a young age he became burdened with being the man of the house.

After deciding to move to Cleveland Wagner started his own company that moved furniture.

The artist was married to one wife for 2o years, but in that time loved to sex with as many women as possible. This led to 2o kids and families. When his wife found out about his other families, she left him.

Late in life he supposedly had an epiphany and gave up his bachelor ways and began painting. He even became an ordained minister and thus picked up the nickname Reverend Wagner.

Wagner worked as a painter and sculptor using found objects.

Price range information: Sorry none available.

A film was made about Albert Reverend Wagner and his “outsider” art in 2008. Here is a clip from the project:

Albert Reverend Wagner passed away in 2006 at the age of 82 years old.


Artist of the moment…..Joseph Whiting Stock

Joseph Whiting Stock was an American artist renown for his work with portraits, especially oilograms as they were known, paintings of dead people and in particular children. Joseph Whiting Stock was born in 1815, some reports say 1818, in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts.

price range information: Most works priced $20,000 to $70,000 and worked in oils and pastels.

What I enjoy most about Stock is that he had to overcome tremendous obstacles just to get by, and yet he persisted in being an artist.  The artist was horribly injured when he was eleven and this accident made him a paraplegic. The artist had a special wheelchair to allow him to travel about to paint.

Below a great clip from my favorite the wonderful Antiques Roadshow. A guest appears with a painting she thought was by another artist. In the end it turns out to be by J.W. Stock.

Never married.

He did keep a journal that I highly recommend for funny insights.

I like to think of Stock as a Victorian era painter for his attention to the way he painted carpets, furniture, children holding small objects, and pets.

Stock was self taught and is sometimes classified in the folk art or primitive art genre.

For his bread and butter income of the oilograms, Stock would spend the winter prepping canvases. He might paint the crib and all but the face. Later he would be asked to do  a commissioned work he would already have 90% of the work finished!

I also think of Stock as a precursor to the hand and foot painters of modern times. People who overcome tremendous difficulties with their motor skills just to make art.

Stock passed away in 1855 at the age of forty after contracting the disease tuberculosis.



Artist of the moment….Madge Gill

Madge Gill was a British artist born in East Ham, Essex to a young mother out of wedlock. Gill is known for her folk/ naive art drawing style. She went to live  in an orphanage at nine years of age. Afterward she was moved to a farm in Canada.

Quite a character Madge Gill married a cousin. The couple had four children but a daughter was a stillborn and child died due to the Spanish influenza epidemic.

The death of her daughter was bad news but then Gill nearly died from an illness that left her blind in one eye.

Supposedly the artist did her best work when she was in a trance like state of being.

She sometimes signed work with the tag ” Myrninterest.” The was the name she gave to the spirit  who inhabited her body when she produced her artwork.

Gill chose not to sell most of her artwork for money, she was afraid it might anger the spirits that helped her produce her wonderful art.

Price range information: Sorry none available. Most of her work is in private collections or owned by the London borough of Newham.

After her daughter was dead the artist came to experience a deepening in spirit. She tried to bring this forth in her artwork.

Here we visit our dear friend James Kalm for a trip showcasing works by the artist. I encourage you to watch the entire clip, but Madge Gill works starts showing at the 7:54 mark into the clip.