AMERICAN FOLK ART
WILLIAM C KETCHUM, JR
ABOU T THE AU THOR WILLIAM KETCHUM is the author of over thirty books and numerous magazine articles on American antiques and collectibles. A former attorney, Mr. Ketchum has been a professor, lecturer, and guest curator for more than twenty years at such institutions as the Smithsonian, the New School for Social Research, and New York University. He is currently very active at the Museum of American Folk Art in New York City, where he is a member of both the International Advisory Committee and the faculty of the Folk Art Institute. Mr. Ketchum presently resides in Rye, New York.
FOLK ART THE ART OFTHE COMMONMAN — is as much a part of the American way of life as baseball and apple pie. Since the time of the earliest settlers, Americans—professionals and amateurs alike— have been expressing their individuality through the creation and embellishment of everyday objects. From furniture and kitchen utensils to weathervanes and shop signs, folk art has come to be synonymous with the art of inclusion. In this beautifully illustrated volume, noted author and curator William Ketchum explores our glorious folk-art heritage in all its simple splendor. Beginning with that most basic American institution, the family, this book investigates the varied arts of home and community. Before the invention of the camera, portraiture—not just the province of the wealthy—was practiced in the forms of painting and silhouette cutting; domestic and regional scenes were also memorialized on canvas in genre paintings.e departed, too, were remembered in the arts of mourning pictures and gravestone carving. Folk art often appeared in many other guises around the house. Lovingly hand-crafted wooden objects from kitchenware to furniture were produced in great profusion, as were metal pieces such as doorstops and hitching posts.e religious paintings and carvings of the Southwest were also a popular expression of homely values. All of these and more are illustrated in these pages in some of the most intriguing examples of their types. In Victorian times particularly, folk art was often created in the pursuit of many di¢erent hobbies, practiced both as solitary occupations and in the context of social gatherings. It was through these avocations that such prized collectibles as theorem paintings, whimsies, and tramp art were fashioned. Beautifully £ourished calligraphy, complex reverse paintings on glass, and intricately carved walking sticks are also pictured here, along with evocative descriptions of the traditions which gave rise to these art forms. Outside the home weathervanes were a common item, a craft which, like so many folk arts, was both practical and decorative. With a history reaching back to ancient times, these were produced in an astonishing variety of shapes, from the ubiquitous rooster to the familiar Uncle Sam. Whirligigs, too, were a favorite windblown sculpture, serving primarily as an amusement for both young and old. Folk art was found in many forms around the town as well. Chapter Five explores these public crafts, which are some of the most sought- after by today’s collectors and museums. Architectural elements, shop signs, tobacconists’ ¥gures, and carousel animals are all pictured here, with fascinating commentary on their histories and modern expressions. More than any other group of people, sailors were responsible for the creation of an enormous range of folk arts. In this next chapter, the author presents nautical art in its myriad forms; scrimshaw, ship models and paintings, rope work, and ship carvings are but a few described and illustrated here. Finally, the world of miniatures is explored, in all its charming detail. From eminently useful duck decoys to purely ornamental ceramic mantel ¥gurines, miniatures have long been a favored handiwork in American homes. Stone and chalkware pieces are discussed as well, along with the more recent “wacky wood,” a souvenir with which every tourist is familiar. An integral part of our American culture and history, folk art is a fascinating and wide-ranging topic.is book, with its stunning illustrations’ and engrossing commentary, will prove an invaluable addition to the library of any collector or enthusiast.
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P I C T U R E C R ED I T S 12 (left), 24-25, 27 (bottom), 31 (top), 35, 42 (top), 48, 61, (left & right), 64, 68, 69 (top), 72, (left), 75, 79, 81, 85 (top), 88-89, 94, 96, 103, 104, 110, 112-113, 114 (left), 118, 120-121, 122, 123 (top & bottom), 124-125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130 (right), 134, 135, 140, 142 (top) All pages above: Schecter Lee/ESTO 30, 32, 34 (top), 40-41, 130 (left), 132, 136-137, 139, 142 (bottom), 143 All pages above: Chun Y. Lai/ESTO 85 (bottom) supplied by the Museum of American Folk Art, New York City ISBN (series) 978-1-4222-3930-8 ISBN (ebook) 978-1-4222-7854-3 Cataloging-in-Publication Data on le with the Library of Congress Copyright ©MMIX by New Line Books Limited. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2018 by Mason Crest, an imprint of National Highlights, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission from the publisher. Printed and bound in the United States of America. First printing 1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2 ISBN (hardback) 978-1-4222-3932-2
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