The Hottest Trends In Collecting Folk Art
Whether youre a a beginning collector or a seasoned pro, everybody wants to know where the folk art world is going. The popular Antique Road Show has sparked a whole new interest in the field by focusing in on the anonymous folk art, folk pottery and some 20th Century folk art. The Museum of American Folk Art presented a show on Atlantas own folk artist, Nellie Mae Rowe, only to find that her popularity amongst collectors greatly increased since her one-woman exhibit. This is very typical when an artist is spotlighted, interest in the artist and the entire field is generated. As a collector, you always want to buy what you like, for you may live with your purchase for a long time. If you are collecting not only for enjoyment but also as an investment, you want to also have the foresight to pick up a piece before the prices soar.
I would like to spotlight some areas of the field which I feel have not reached the collecting mainstream and have great investment potential. The first tip I can offer the eager collector, is scour the South. The South is blessed with a great core of African-American Self-taught artists, Bill Traylor, Mose Tolliver and Clementine Hunter, to name a few. These artists fill the numerous folk art books and encyclopedias. Compared to fine art, works by these artists can still be purchased for reasonable prices and there is always a hot resale market.
I see one of the hottest trends in collecting moving toward African-American decorative arts; highly-decorated furniture, architectural pieces and decorated utilitarian objects. Some of the most influential folk art collectors of our time are now focusing their energy in this untaped resource. Atlantas High Museum recently put on a show of folk and decorative arts, where some of the highlighted masterpieces were a African-American snake quilt, a slave-made storage pottery jar incised with a poem, and a highly carved and decorated dresser cabinet made from the recycled wood of old fruit crates and cigar boxes. In a recent Slotin Folk Art Auction, an anonymous African-American life-sized carving of Jesus holding a half moon, found in a Preachers yard in Southwest Atlanta, got the crowd buzzing and sold for $3,500. We encourage everyone to keep an eye on the African-American decorative arts.
Another hot trend in the field of self-taught art is that of New Discoveries. With the recent acceptance and popularity of the folk art field, the art created by the elderly, developmentally or emotionally disabled artists is now highly sought after. In the past several years several galleries specializing in the work by artists with special needs have cropped up and become quite successful. You can find wonderful pieces by New Discoveries by combing the county fairs, art shows, flea markets, art exhibits in homes for the aged, developmentally disabled and homeless and start looking for undiscovered treasures.
This nation is loaded with these hidden treasures. We encourage the collector in all of you to get out there and make some new discoveries. Its lots of fun, and who knows, the discovery you make, could also be quite valuable.
Producer of Folk Fest and Slotin Folk Art Auctions