Mar 01, 2012 - Sale 2271

Sale 2271 - Lot 117

Price Realized: $ 5,040
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 4,000
(ART--FOLK ART.) PIERCE, ELIJAH. Archive of material relative to the artist, including: cards, letters, broadside advertisements, manuscript religious material relative to Pierce's preaching, exhibition posters, catalogs, news-clippings, plus a piece of original art, being a five small pieces of wood, in a glass bottle, which when assembled spell "God [lacking the "Bless" piece] this Home" There are literally too many items to list here. should be seen. Vp

Additional Details

Elijah Pierce (1892-1984), Baptist preacher, barber and one of the most important American wood carvers of the twentieth century, was born on a Mississippi farm, the son of a former slave. He began whittling and carving little figures from odds and ends of wood at a very young age. His uncle Lewis Wallace taught him how to whittle, but barbering attracted his attention as a trade. After the death of his first wife in 1915, Pierce joined the Great Migration North, working as an itinerant laborer and preacher. He earned his preaching license in 1920 and settled with his second wife, Cornelia in Columbus, Ohio, in 1923. There he worked steadily as a barber and, began to carve more seriously. After presenting Cornelia with a small elephant as a birthday present, he promised her an entire zoo, and Pierce's art practice began with that menagerie. "By the 1930s, Pierce was making colorful painted-and-polished sculptural reliefs as well as freestanding figures, which illustrated Biblical scenes, depicted popular cultural events and personages-particularly from sports and cinema--and recounted autobiographical details. He opened his own barbershop in 1951, installing a woodworking studio. Pierce's sculptures, already well-known in his community, garnered broader art-world attention in the 1970s, when he exhibited nationally and internationally, retiring from his barbering and concentrating exclusively on his art. He began to tackle more topical subjects like the Civil Rights Movement and Watergate. In 1982 he won a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, in recognition of his cultural achievements." --Brendan Greaves (Foundation for self-taught American Artists.)