Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bill Traylor - American Folk Artist at ADAA's ART SHOW NYC 2016 + FOOD Teriyaki Salmon

Folk Artist Bill Traylor with his artworks.
Courtesy Alabama State Council on the Arts
Photo-Horance Perry 1946
Folk Artist 
Bill Traylor 
American Folk Artist
Pencil and Poster Paint
on cardboard 

(This collection of Bill Traylor's work was presented for sale at the ADAA ART SHOW in March 2016 by the Betty Cuninham Gallery, New York, NY) 

These drawings and paintings are by the self-taught Alabama artist Bill Traylor. (See his biography at the end of this article.) Traylor began making art near the end of his life, and his works are notable for their flat, simply defined shapes and vibrant compositions in which memories and observations relating to African American life are merged. Traylor is recognized as one of the finest American artists of the 20th century.

"Bill Traylor's talent surfaced suddenly when he was 85."

Bill Traylor "Black Dog" 1939 - 1942
graphite & tempera on cardboard

Bill Traylor "Black Horse", 1939 - 1942
graphite & tempera on cardboard

Bill Traylor "Cat with Arched Back" 1939 - 1942
graphite on cardboard

 Bill Traylor "Cat, Pale Face", 1939 - 1942
graphite & tempera on cardboard

Bill Traylor "Chick" 1939-1942
graphite on cardboard

Bill Traylor "Flying Duck"  1939 - 1942
graphite & tempera on cardboard

Bill Traylor "High Steppin' Cat" 1939-1942
graphite & tempera on cardboard

Bill Traylor "Big Brown River Fish" 1039 - 1942
graphite & tempera on cardboard

Bill Traylor "Joe and Mary Hicock" 1939 - 1942
graphite & tempera on cardboard

Bill Traylor "Mule"  (early) 1939
graphite on cardboard

Bill Traylor "Portrait of a Man" 1939-1942
graphite & colored pencil on cardboard

Bill Traylor "Sicle-tail Dog" 1939-1942
graphite & tempera on cardboard

Bill Traylor "Startled Young Mule" 1939 - 1942
graphite & colored pencil on cardboard

Bill Traylor "Untitled" (Blue & Brown House with Chimneys)
1939 - 1942
Graphite & tempera on found cardboard

Bill Traylor "Young Brown Steer" 1939 - 1942
graphite & tempera on cardboard

Bill Traylor "Mexican Lady" 1939 - 1942
graphite & tempera on cardboard

Bill Traylor "Small Brown Buzzard" 1939 - 1942
graphite & tempera on cardboard

(All photographs were taken with permission of the gallery and with permission of the ADAA ART SHOW. If interested in any of the above artworks, check for availability and price by contacting the Betty Cuninham Gallery, 15 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002 Phone:(212) 242-2772)

Bill Traylor was born on April 1, 1854 as a slave on the George Hartwell Traylor plantation outside of Benton, Alabama, about thirty-five miles from Montgomery. After the Civil War, Traylor stayed on the plantation as did the other members of his family. He became a sharecropper, working his own land. On August 13, 1891, he married his wife, Lourisa Dunklin, and the couple had nine children together.

In 1935, at the age of 82, Traylor decided to leave the farm where he had spent his entire life. As he later explained to artist Charles Shannon, ”My white folks had died and my children scattered.” Having no one left to stay for, Traylor uprooted himself, leaving the small community of about 700 people for the comparative metropolis of Montgomery, with a population of over 70,000 inhabitants.

Upon his arrival, Traylor worked in a shoe factory, but rheumatism forced him to quit. He received government assistance checks to live on, and slept in the back room of the Ross-Clayton Funeral Home on Monroe Street.

Monroe Street was a busy, lively place. It was close to the train station and the river, so many travelers passed through. On the weekends, there was an influx of country people coming to town for supplies. Traylor saw many old friends, and was on pleasant terms with many of the people in the black community around Monroe Street.

Sometime after his arrival in Montgomery, Traylor picked up a pencil and a scrap of cardboard or some such material, and began to draw. His inspirations were the people he saw on the street, animals and livestock, and objects around him such as those found in the nearby blacksmith shop. He sat on a box, observing and drawing the vignettes he saw played out before him. In the spring of 1939, he was noticed by Charles Shannon, a white painter who was living outside of Montgomery, having received a fellowship to pursue his work there. Shannon became a great advocate of Traylor’s work, and helped support him by bringing supplies and visiting every week.

In February 1940, Charles Shannon arranged for a solo exhibition of Traylor’s work at New South, which was both an organization and a community arts center dedicated to creative culture in Montgomery. Shannon also helped obtain funds for Traylor to go to Detroit later that year to visit relatives, though he wasn’t sure if he would actually return. Traylor did, having only stayed away a few weeks.

In 1942, Traylor’s work was again exhibited at The Fieldstone School of the Ethical Culture Schools in Riverday, New York. It was curated by Victor E. D’Amico, who was introduced to Traylor’s work the previous year by Charles Shannon. Subsequently, D’Amico introduced Bill Traylor’s work to Alfred Barr, the director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Barr decided to purchase sixteen of the works for the museum, in addition to buying some for his own collection. Charles Shannon was sent a check for the pieces, a sum that worked out to payment of one dollar for smaller pictures and two dollars for larger pieces. Shannon was incensed, having not been previously consulted about selling the paintings, of which he was the owner. He cancelled the transaction, retaking possession of the pictures. Later that year, Shannon was drafted into the army, and left the United States to serve in the South Pacific.

Bill Traylor’s time during World War II was spent moving around the homes of his various children, who were indeed scattered in Washington D.C., Detroit, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. During his time in Washington, he had a gangrenous leg amputated. In spite of any difficulties this may have caused, he chose to return to Montgomery, preferring his life on Monroe Street. He did not create any art during the war years, and though he did begin to draw again upon returning to Montgomery, the pictures were of substantially lesser quality. His contact with Charles Shannon was eventually resumed, but none of these later works were preserved.

Traylor died on October 23, 1949 in Montgomery. Shannon, in possession of 1200-1500 drawings, kept them in storage due to lack of public interest in his work. Today, Traylor’s work has gradually moved from the appellation ‘folk art’ to inclusion in the canon of contemporary 20th century art. 

(Bio source:

Salmon Teriyaki 

2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups carrots, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 boneless salmon fillets
¾ cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400°F.
On a baking sheet, combine broccoli, carrots, oil, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly to make sure all vegetables are coated, and then arrange them in the center of the tray in a flat layer. Lay the two salmon fillets on the vegetables.
In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, soy sauce, honey, and sesame seeds. Mix until there are no lumps. Spread the glaze evenly on top of the two salmon fillets.
Bake for 12 minutes.
Take the salmon fillets off the vegetables and set aside. Toss the vegetables in the roasting juices. Glaze the salmon with any remaining juices. Serve!


Until later,

ARTS&FOOD is an online magazine dedicated to providing artists and collectors around the world with highlights of current art exhibitions, and to encourage all readers to invest in and participate in “The Joy of Art” and Culture. All Rights Reserved. All concepts, original art, text & photography, which are not otherwise credited, are copyright 2016 © Jack A. Atkinson, under all international, intellectual property and copyright laws. All gallery events', museum exhibitions', art fairs' or art festivals' photographs were taken with permission or provided by the event or gallery. All physical artworks are the intellectual property of the individual artists and © (copyright) individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees. 
Trademark Copyright Notice: ©ARTSnFOOD.blogspot,com, ©ARTSnFOOD,
©ARTS&FOOD, ©, ©, ©ART&FOOD, ©, ©

No comments:

Post a Comment