Christie’s New York Presents Outsider Art

New Delhi, Jan 24 (IANSlife) Outsider Art, a live auction at Rockefeller Center on February 3, 2022, features works by notable artists in the field, including Henry Darger, Bill Traylor, and Martn Ramrez, among others. Property from the William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation, sold to benefit the Foundation and the Harlem Children’s Zone, and property from the Collection of William A. Fagaly, sold to benefit Prospect New Orleans’ William A. Fagaly Memorial Fund for Social Impact, are among the works in the sale.

William Fagaly (1938-2021), an internationally renowned curator, spent his whole career at the New Orleans Museum of Art enhancing the institution’s presence of African art, Outsider art, and contemporary art. He was an early supporter of marginalised artists, making a strong effort to add work to NOMA’s permanent collection from this group. When Fagaly started working at the museum in the 1960s, it only had about ten works of African art. It now has roughly 600 members. Sister Gertrude Morgan and David Butler, among the artists Fagaly gathered, built strong relationships with him. Fagaly curated many shows of Morgan’s art, including the posthumous study The Tools of Her Ministry: the Art of Sister Gertrude Morgan at the American Folk Art Museum in New York in 2004. Butler was included in the seminal exhibition Black Folk Art in America 1930-1980, which premiered at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC in 1982, and he was the first curator to offer Butler a show in 1976. The sale will include Walking Stick with Figure, one of Butler’s sculptures included in the Black Folk Art in America catalogue (estimate: $4,000-8,000).

Cara Zimmerman, Christie’s Head of Americana and Outsider Art, remarked: “Bill Fagaly built a collection over many years with a curatorial eye and a masterful grasp of the field of outsider art. He really was at the forefront of reconsidering preconceived structures of art history and, early on, began to recognise many of the outsider artists we see today as having real power and gravitas. Over the course of his life, Bill developed long-term relationships with quite a few of the artists he collected-David Butler and Sister Gertrude Morgan, in particular. He would visit with both of them and get to know them on a personal level, which led to a unique understanding of their artistic practice. Bill’s support played a large role in bringing both Butler and Morgan’s work in front of the collecting public. Our February sale presents collectors with a rare opportunity to acquire some of the earliest and most coveted pieces by these self-taught masters.”

The sale also includes magnificent works from the Gene and Judy Kohn Collection of Outsider Art, including Bill Traylor’s Untitled (Man and Woman) (estimate: $80,000-120,000), which is the top lot of the sale. Gene and Judy Kohn, a Boston-based couple, were early Outsider art collectors, acquiring a great collection of works long before the genre became more commonly known and appreciated.

Sale highlights will be on exhibition at Christie’s New York galleries at 20 Rockefeller Plaza 13-20 January 2022 and the entire sale will be on view 29 January – 3 February 2022. Viewing is by appointment only.

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