Josef Helfenstein Editor
Roman Kurzmeyer Editor
Essay by Phil Patton
Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1999, English
Nonfiction, Art and Cultural History
ISBN: 9780300075991

From the Publisher. Bill Traylor has become an almost mythical figure in the history of American folk art. Born into slavery in 1854, he began to draw only at the age of 82 in 1939, when he moved from the plantation where he was born to Montgomery, Alabama. From his observations on Montgomery’s Monroe Avenue and his memories of his life on the plantation, he created his own original pictorial world. This book presents not only Traylor’s compellingly naive drawings but also fascinating documentary photographs that reveal the daily life of southern blacks—in particular Traylor and his milieu. They tell the story of his many years as a poor and illiterate agricultural laborer; his extraordinary foray into the creation of art; his discovery by Charles Shannon, a white artist from the North; and his largely posthumous fame. They explore the relationship of his energetic pictures to African-American music, showing how his images pulse with the sensation of a live blues concert. And they discuss the economic depression and race relations in Alabama during Traylor’s time in Montgomery in the 1930s and 1940s. 


On 1 book list
comments powered by Disqus