Friday, December 18, 2009

Timelessness of American Folk Art

Ammi Phillips, Girl in Red Dress with Cat and Dog, 1830-1835, and Will Barnett's Woman Reading, 1970.

Ammi Phillips and Will Barnett portraits.

Sheldon Peck's 1849 Portrait of George Weld Hilliard and Camilla Engman's The Keeper.

Sheldon Peck's Anna Gould Crane and her Grandmother Jenette with an Alice Neel duo.

Sheldon Peck's The Wagner Family, 1845, and Alice Neel's The Westreich Family, 1978.


  1. In the 1970s, Jean Lipman published a book titled "Provocative Parallels" in which she juxtaposed works in this manner. The cover of the book showed a 19th-C American quilt next to an early painting by Frank Stella, both composed of concentric squares.
    Many were struck by the formal connections Lipman discovered, but beyond that, no one was sure what the ultimately value of the exercise was other than to illustrate that artists have unintentionally arrived at this same solutions to formal problems as others for centuries.
    The juxtapositions you present are interesting, but what to they mean? If you are saying one work influenced the other, that's one thing; if not, then what? What does "timelessness" mean in this context? Influence? That would be hard to substantiate. What is the narrative you're telling?

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