Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


I'm not at the Outsider Art Fair 2020 Annual Post Children's Art Art Brut ?

The Outsider Art Fair snuck up on me this year, and while I haven't gone in a decade, for the same amount of time I've tried to come up with something interesting to share during the season.  This year the showing of Children's Artworks of the 1930s from the Kuniyoshi Collection made a choice easy, as I've been fascinated by the relationship between schooling and art creation a long time.  The psychological aspects of development through exposure to public schooling and mass media is relatable to both Outsider Art and and that of trained artists, children and otherwise.  I've collected some good examples of art from the age of development in which artists become artists…and the tools and techniques provided through schooling.  There is a period when artists decide they have become artists. 

From the start, I've avoided refrigerator art.  I suppose every child for the last hundred years in the United States has been handed paints and brushes in class at some time.  However, it is the exceptional students I look for.  Quirky examples with both beauty and some wonder…those with a little extra drive and motivation.  In each case, I will link to further pieces which have been posted here.  Hopefully, what will be revealed is a dozen categories of interest.

An example of the broad strokes and "folky" art of a child.  The subject matter is important, as Lou Gehrig was likely a hero to the artist.  This is an example of what I call Refrigerator Art.  If you are a parent, you'll understand. Anonymous c. 1939  Original Post

Boys like to draw war and weapons.  It is unfortunate we live in a world in which they are common.  Still, the most lovely and interesting work can be characterized by the same creative impulses which arise in in a child in a manner similar to that of talented adults.  Kenneth Hetrick 1931 
Original Post

In this case, it is a schoolgirl drawing the Man of Steel and Lois.  A good example of art influenced by popular culture, yet still showing an individualistic approach. Audrey K. circa 1950 
Original Post 

Handmade books by children are common.  Here,  a schoolgirl creates a nice one using the preferred paper of children.  Manila!  Darlene Olds 1934  Original Post

Pages from a miniature cookbook 4" x 6" created circa 1940 - 1945 by Carol Birkett and her friend Patty.  Original text directions and a few clipped from magazines.  Original Post

The cover of a handmade sewing manual created as a class assignment. The woman on the cover is reading her own book!  Anonymous Circa 1950? Original post

Story of the Corn from scarecrow to the popper!  A narrative by an anonymous 19th century child.
Original Post

Art lessons in crayon.  Anonymous practice design reflecting school training circa 1910.  
Original Post

Dazzling detail on an Ohio schoolhouse by Ora Maxwell circa 1890.  It is often difficult to determine if a drawing is "folk art" or "art by a child" as  any distinctions can blur.  Original Post
A Jester performs.  An example from the numerous "coloring books" distributed in the late 19th century.  This drawing was copied from a commercial example provided for students to replicate in their own hand.  Anonymous circa 1900 Original Post

Circa 1880 Frederich Froebel paper weavings created by children in some of the more enlightened schools.  The educator and scholar was responsible for fitting lots of children into a world where color worked and lines mattered.  Anonymous Original Post

Examples of pre-punched sewing cards which were popular in teaching situations from 1880 on.  Young woman were taught the skills of domestic chores...and the subject matter was often religious.  Moral instruction while learning dexterity.  Anonymous completed sewing cards.
Original Post

The last examples are cheating, as they were drawn by a "Magic Pattern" toy from the 1930s or so.  Similar to the later common Spirograph!  Still, likely "drawn" by a child.
Original Post

There are plenty of other beautiful examples of art created by the young.  I avoid the psychological and developmental implications when looking for examples to collect.  I'll leave that up to the educators!  Many more examples are found on the blog.  
OTHER EXAMPLES OF I'm not at the outsider art show ARE FOUND ON THE BLOG WITH A CLICK...but one can just browse. See also this CLICK.  Many of the examples here were self published in my book Eccentric Folk Art Drawings of the 19th and 20th Centuries available in a paperback or an affordable instant download.

Where are Marion and Irma? Vernacular Photographs

Marion and Irma are playing games at the Sally Rand Nude Revue show at the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939 San Francisco.  Pair of original snapshot photographs 
Collection Jim Linderman

Postage Stamp Ruse of 1935. Swapped Heads fool Uncle Sam

I discovered a fellow tricking Uncle Sam way back in 1935.  See anything wrong with the two examples of stamps on top here?  The 1 cent  stamp is supposed to depict Franklin, yet Lincoln fills the center!  The 2 cent stamp is supposed to depict Washington, but this one has Nathan Hale.  In the second example, Franklin has been replaced with Washington!  What the?  Both envelopes have been mailed and the rogue stamps cancelled.  The four relevant and proper stamps follow below.  Pretty good, eh?  Actually, one Charles Bradley expertly clipped out and swapped the heads before mailing them back to himself.  Why?  I dunno.  I think some folks just like to put one over on the government.  A while ago I gave an interview in which I claimed not to be a stamp collector.  I guess I am now.

Mixed up US postage stamps circa 1935 Collection Jim Linderman

Antique Folk Art Carved Wooden Horse and Cart 19th / early 20th c.

Antique Folk Art Carved Wooden Horse and Cart late 19th / early 20th c.  48 inches long, the horse is 21" tall and 24 inches long.  Child's riding size!  The largest pull toy I've even seen.  Original paint.  Handmade carriage is made of wood and shaped tin.  Found in Michigan 
Collection Jim Linderman 

Painted Knees and Tattoo History by Carmen Forquer Nyssen

Having faces painted on your knees never really caught on, though I posted a pic a few years ago trying.  Now, master tattoo historian Carmen Forquer Nyssen has sent this example.  Thanks!  Carmen maintains the best historical site on all things tattoo at BUZZWORTHY TATTOO HISTORY. Makes sense, as she is the Great Grand niece of legendary tattoo artist Bert Grimm, one of the most revered early artists of the genre.  Carmen's site covers many other tattoo notables and her research is impeccable.  Seriously serious work.  Anyone with the slightest interest in tats  (some 36% of all Americans) could spend hours on her site. Carmen has written numerous articles and is working on what will certainly be the definitive book on Mr. Grimm.
One can follow Buzzworthy Tattoo History HERE on Facebook.  The website is HERE

Anonymous press photograph, circa 1925. 

The Normal Union System of Industrial Drawing 19th c. Watercolor Paintings

There were eight volumes of the incomprehensible Normal Union System of Industrial Drawing published by Sower Potts and Co. in 1878.  There were dozens of private "textbook" publishers at the time who sold technical manuals to schools and individuals.  The bulk of this one seems to be as simple as replicating simple designs in the blank spaces.  The written instructions require a microscope to read!  Obviously, our student didn't do very well, and upon failing it appears a younger sibling repurposed the pamphlet as a coloring book for watercolors.  Both fail.  A few pages of examples.  

National Union System of Industrial Drawing (5" x 9") 1878 with watercolor embellishments.  Collection Jim Linderman

Here Today... Sam Doyle's House c. 1992

Here today, gone tomorrow.  Original photograph of Gullah artist Sam Doyle's house c. 1992 by Jim Linderman (bottom) and the same as seen in a cropped photograph by Roger Manley, I believe, from the early 1980s (top)  A beautiful essay with considerable photographs of the environment are HERE on the Sam Seawright site

Best Handmade Get Well Card EVER!

"Cheer up" made by hand get well card by Ellen B. Moore-Morrill circa 1950.
Courtesy BOXLOT on Facebook.

VICE ! 10 Original Press Photographs from the Golden Days of Obscenity collection Jim Linderman

The doorway to the Book Shack photograph by John Collier 1973 Free Press (Detroit?)

Candy Barr Stripped of Freedom 1957 photographer unknown, no source indicated

Pornography businesses line part of 66th Street N in Pinellas Park 1979 photograph by Barbara Hansen St. Petersberg Times

An interior view of the lobby office at the Geisha House which is a massage parlor and peep show at 414 West 42nd Street.  The two gentlemen pictured are employees  1972 photographer unknown, New York Times

King's News raid  1961 photograph, source unknown

After some local residents complained and called the sign lewd and indecent, the North Hempstead Town Board asked him to add more clothes to the sign  1957 photographer unknown N. E. A.

 Peep Shows 1953?  Photograph by Knefel Chicago Sun Times

Vice raid  1957 photograph by Clarence B. Garrett The Sun Papers

New York minister holds news stand magazines that caused objections 1963  AP wirephoto photographer unknown

Customs officers check the books in preparation for burning 1964 photographer unknown Keystone Press Agency


Folk Art Shovel-Tailed Snow Snake Real Photo Postcard

Folk Art Shovel-Tailed Snow Snake Real Photo Postcard of Rice Lake, WI.  "Largest one ever seen."
Collection Jim Linderman courtesy Curley's Antiques

Puma by Michigan Carver Fred Alten c. 1910-1945 Collection Jim Linderman

Collectors Joe and Lee Dumas discovered 156 carvings by Mr. Alten hidden in a backyard shack 30 years after his death.  There were 14 hand built cages holding the menagerie in darkness since Alten passed in 1945.  Collector Julie Hall wrote in the first catalog devoted to the work. "Alten's animals were "captured" in green wood cages with metal bars.  It was apparent that, once Fred finished a dozen or so animals, he stood them in cages, and then permanently fitted the metal bars around them in a rigid wooden frame."  "They were very strong, and I had to smash some of the animals to get them out…" Dumas is quoted in The Detroit News in 1986.  It appears now this figure was one of them.  I was told the tail was likely broken at that time.  It also explains why the figure was photographed here (Country Living Magazine September 1986) on their shelves positioned with no tail showing!  I also now have the tail.

Over the years, Alten's works have been added to many museums, some through purchase, others by generous donations.  A dozen standard works on folk and outsider artists include his work. 

Alten created his animals from several pieces of wood mortised together.  Joined portions are seen here.  He also often covered the carvings in wax while painting them and used a comb or pointed object to create a "hair" effect.  A good portion of this has been lost since the little fella was photographed, but it has knocked around a good while.  The puma was an orphan.

Shown here in Country Living Magazine 1986.

Puma Fred Alten c. 1920-1945.  Wood, was, original paint.  Collection Jim Linderman

Elke Sommer Celebrity Artist

Celebrity painters seldom amount to much.Red Skelton, Ronnie Wood, Sly Stallone, Miles Davis...even Tony Bennett. All great, but snubbed by the insular real art world. They painted when they should have performed. But we make an exception for Elke Sommer.  Why?  Because the art world treats women artists like crap.Sexism abounds. Painting is STILL seen as a hard ham-fisted manly activity.Think Jackson Pollock grunting over a floor-sized abstract, or Julian Schnabel bossing the city of New York into allowing his rooftop to exceed New York City limits. It helps if you are a troubled genius who drinks too much too. Well, Elke is neither of those, as far as I know..AND her paintings are FOR SALE HERE  I think. Most seem sold, but I didn't click through too many. Give Elke Sommer some major love. Buy a Painting!

New York Corn Shuckers original photograph c. 1905

A nice group photograph of what appears to be a good portion of the town shucking the corn crop.  Note remnants of outer leaves on the ground. I'm not sure how much work they got out of the two fellows lower right.  I have to say they appear to have spent the day with corn liquor instead of shucking tools.  Photograph by Lorenzo  Short, Rondout NY circa 1905.