A few days ago I enjoyed the Anthony Petullo's collection at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The artists whose work is shown here are an inspiration to all of us. Their life experience sets the example of what passion and persistence can achieve when they go hand in hand.
-Many of these artists were self-taught.
-Many of them endured economic hardships and/or had mental disorders.
-Many of them started working on their art in their forties and even later.
I would like to mention some of of my favorite artists from this collection:
Frederick James Lloyd: he grew up on a farm in Cheshire in England and had different jobs before he devoted himself to his art. He worked as a farm laborer, stoker, lamplighter, bus conductor and police officer. At the age of 42 he remarried and fathered nine children. You would not think that was the best time to work on his art, right? Wrong! He worked on something else to support his family during the day, but in the evenings he painted at his kitchen table with his kids running and playing around him. One of the paintings I am showing here (the one with the face) is Lloyd's work.
Sylvia Levine is another self-taught artist who began painting at the age of 45. The landscape here is one of her many paintings.
Madge Gill is a woman who worked with ink and pencil. Here is a link to some of her interesting work:
I cannot finish this post without telling you about Leo Navratil, a psychiatrist and author from Austria who encouraged his patients to draw and paint. While supporting his patients' creativity, he discovered that some of them were very talented. He sent some of the artwork to Jean Dubuffet and they created a group called The Gugging artists. Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) was an artist attracted to the art of children and the mentally ill. He did a lot to promote their work. He attacked "conformism" and mainstream culture which he described as "asphyxiating". Feel free to visit these links about Jean Dubuffet:
If you are close to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, you may appreciate a visit to the Milwaukee Museum of Art to enjoy Anthony Petullo's collection.