Galerie Bonheur is pleased to announce our participation in the Fall Benefit Gala Auction at American Folk Art Museum in New York City on November 16, 2017! We have donated several works of folk art from our extensive collection for this event to support their wonderful effort to provide great cultural & educational experience for their broad audience. Click the image for more information.
The “Death Cart” – special work of art by Horacio Valdez, a famous Santero from New Mexico – has traveled the world in museum settings and major art exhibits and it now needs to have a permanent home, to be appreciated and admired by an art- loving public!
(1929-1992, New Mexico), La Muerte Death Cart, 1983.
Polychrome carved wood, 53 x 50 x 32 inches.Available on November 11, 2017
at Santa Fe Art AuctionView This Artwork at the Santa Fe Art Auction Website HereFor inquiry:
Laurie Ahner, Director & Owner
email@example.com or 314.409.6057
Valdez is best known for his Penitente-inspired death carts. These large scale sculptures depict a female skeletal image riding atop a miniature wooden ox cart. The skeleton, called La Muerte (Death) or Dona Sebastiana, usually carries a hatchet, bow and arrow, or other instrument of death. The figure is a reminder of human mortality or memento mori. Real death carts appear during Holy Week when members of the Brotherhood of the Penitentes, or “Hermandad de Nuestro Padres Jesus Nazareno,” reenact the suffering and crucifixion of Christ by pulling carts filled with stones in a procession as penance. (image below: Feria Artesana, The Albuquerque Museum, 1981, “Horacio Valdez: Labrador De Amor”)
The “La Muerte” Death Cart was commissioned by Galerie Bonheur directly from Horacio Valdez at his home in Dixon, New Mexico. The sculpture took approximately 8 months to complete, and Galerie Bonheur has maintained ownership of the piece since its creation in 1983. The death cart was on loan from October 5, 1986 to May 29, 1988 in a traveling exhibit entitled “Beyond Tradition: Contemporary American Folk Art.” This exhibit, organized by the Katonah Gallery (now the Katonah Museum of Art), traveled both throughout the United States and Europe. (image below: detail: Horacio Valdez, La Muerte Death Cart, 1983, Galerie Bonheur)
Other Valdez carvings have been shown at the Museum of American Folk Art, the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, the Taylor Museum in Colorado Springs, and the Albuquerque Museum. Another death cart, entitled “Carreta de Muerte” (1975) resides in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. (image below: Horacio Valdez, Carreta de Muerte, 1975, Smithsonian American Museum)
Happy 4th of July, everyone! Have a wonderful holiday with family and friends! Amos Ferguson (1920-2009, Bahamas), “A Family Around the Dinner Table,” 1960. Enamel on cardboard, 30 x 36 inches. Please inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314.409.6057.
Amos Ferguson (1920-2009, Bahamas), “A Family Around the Dinner Table,” 1960. Enamel on cardboard, 30 x 36 inches.
After dropping out of school at the age of 11, Roy Reid (Jamaica, 1937-2009) remained illiterate until his thirties. Spiritual by nature, he then taught himself to read by using the Bible. Today he is regarded as one of the most important outsider artists in his native Jamaica. His use of strong colors often carries symbolic meanings.
Nurse by Roy Reid. Oil on canvas, 30 x 26 inches, $3,850.
Wonder by Roy Reid. Oil on canvas, 32 x 24 inches (framed), $3,850.
My dear friend Jonathan Demme (1944-2017), a notable American film director (Philadelphia, The Silence of the Lambs, and many more) passed away on April 26th. He was an avid art collector, and a great supporter of Folk & Outsider Art and Artists. Every year, he visited us at the Outsider Art Fair in New York bringing with him much enthusiasm. His vast art collection is beyond spectacular, and it is truly a reflection of his joyful yet modest personality. Though he is incredibly missed by so many fans and friends like myself, his passion for Haitian and Folk Art, and his heart and soul, will endure. His eye was for true quality and intense color, and I am honored to own many works from his collection!
“Still Life 03” by Sénèque Obin, Haiti. Oil on panel 24 x 20 inches, framed. 1959, signed. Jonathan Demme Collection. $8,500
“Fishing Boats at Dawn” by Ernst Prophete, Haiti. Oil on panel. 24 x 12 inches, framed. Jonathan Demme Collection. $1,850
“Chicken Coop” by Paul Jean, Haiti (deceased). Oil on Masonite 16 x 20 inches. Jonathan Demme Collection. $950.
Amos Ferguson created many magnificent paintings of various religious themes.
I have been involved in collecting and selling the work of Amos Ferguson, (1920-2009), Bahamas, since the early 1980’s. Amos became a friend, and I have sold more of his work than any other artist I have ever represented. He was a man who could paint joy! Since Galerie Bonheur means “good feelings,” and “joy”, I have always had a special love for this artist’s work.
It is obvious from looking at his paintings, Amos Ferguson loved to paint in brilliant and vibrant colors, and his subject matter was generally straightforward and direct. His imagery was typically flowers, fauna, fish, boating and fishing, nature, birds, colorful Bahamian houses, families, ladies and children, choirs, everyday life in the islands, and many scenes of his native people, both black and white.
Everyone can relate to these scenes no matter where they live, since we all love the great outdoors and good weather, both of which the Bahamas has quite a lot! However there was another motivation and theme permeating Amos’ work, and for which he is well known. Spirituality was a big factor in his life, and his belief in God and the Bible inspired most of his oeuvre.
Amos’ religious beliefs were inbred, as his father was a preacher and a carpenter on Exuma Island. Having left home at age 14, Amos worked as a house painter in Nassau, until his nephew told him that the Lord spoke to him in a dream, with a strong message that Amos should use his talent to create art. In his 40’s Amos started to paint prolifically; he concentrated on intensely personal religious paintings as well as brightly colored, joyous renderings of social rituals such as the Junkanoo festival.
To quote his niece, Lorraine Bastian, “Ferguson credits his successful career and profound creative gift to his faith in God. Ferguson says that he ‘paints by faith, not by sight. Faith gives you sight.’ “
“To paint, the Lord gives you a vision, a sight that you go by,” Amos once told a reporter. “But don’t forget you have to see and check the Bible and don’t forget God. And the more you keep up with your Bible, and get the understanding, the better you paint.” Amos Ferguson.
To quote Ute Stebich, an art historian who helped introduce Amos to the art world in the USA in the 1980’s, “There is a tenderness, a generous and smiling attitude toward life, which may have its origin in the deeply rooted religiosity of the Bahamian people.”
Another major collector of Amos, Sukie Miller, said: “Every time I passed his painting a strange thing happened: I heard Gospel music.”
Erica James, director of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, described Amos as a “dynamo,” and a very spiritual and passionate man who lived transparently.
Geoffrey Holder, another collector of Amos’s work, wrote: “Ferguson’s work reminds me of the Garden of Eden before the Snake. It’s pure, it’s clean, it’s direct, uncluttered.”
Another comment after his by death in 2009, by a news writer: ” Mr. Ferguson was a devout Christian and many believe that it was his infallible faith that lent him the courage and vision to fully explore and develop his unique and distinctive style.” Reuben Shearer, The Tribune, October 21, 2009.
Amos Ferguson was a sincere and genuine human being who loved God, his country, life, and the gift of his art. His simple lifestyle did not change or improve with his success and fame in the 1980’s, and the humble genius with a gentle and warm smile continued to paint until death took him to his Maker.
The religious and Biblical paintings by Amos Ferguson are truly a tribute to his incredible life and career, revealing his heart and soul to those of us lucky enough to be a witness to this Master artist.