by Laurie Ahner
Leave a CommentAmos 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.
Leave a CommentOur pre-HOLIDAY SALE includes many wonderful paintings that are treasured by Galerie Bonheur and need a new home.These are great prices, with generous discounts, but also feel free to make an offer! We aim to please.Also check out our great deals on our SALE page!
Support Haiti with a purchase of art! – 20% of Haitian art sales will be donated to Haitian charitiesLeave a Comment
by Laurie AhnerAs everyone knows, HAITI was recently hit hard with Hurricane Matthew and thousands are homeless as a result. This special country which has given so much to me in terms of inspiration, appreciation, fulfillment in my career, not to mention wonderful art and friendships for a lifetime, is in dire need once more.
I started Galerie Bonheur with a collection of happy and colorful Haitian Art in 1980. The country and people have had my heart since that time, and I have enjoyed every day of this association and the many brilliant works of art that I have bought and sold over those 36 years. Therefore, I am moved to raise funds for Haiti again…..as I have done in the past.
Please purchase a piece of our Haitian Art now, at our best low price, and we will donate at least 20% to one of our favorite Haitian charities such as: Hope for Haiti, Meds and Foods for Kids, Fondam, and Arts Foundation for Children of Haiti.These funds go directly to help the people and children who are suffering from lack of food, clothing, housing and the basic needs of humanity. (Every dollar will go straight to those caring for victims. No dollars will be diverted for administrative needs as happens with many American relief agencies.)I promise that you will not regret your purchase as it will bring you joy and pleasure for many years, and it will also help some Haitians to continue on their difficult path through life.Many thanks, love and appreciation, and hugs from Haiti, and from Laurie, owner and director of Galerie Bonheur. ️️️️
by Laurie Ahner
Bring Joy to Your Home Through Folk Art
by Kristie McClanahan
Folk art is the product of untrained eyes and hands freed from convention, revered for celebrating the everyday. It’s an honest art form, born simply of the creator’s love of creating.
But don’t mistake “untrained” for “unskilled.” Folk artists have a deep sense of harmony, balance, sincerity and truth – characteristics classically trained artists also strive for. “Self-Taught Genius: Treasures From the American Folk Art Museum,” currently on display at the Saint Louis Art Museum, roundly rejects the notion of folk art as mere crafts through more than 100 pieces of uncommon – and sometimes anonymous – talent.
And with its charm and personality, folk art functions beautifully when brought into the home.
“It’s refreshing,” says Laurie Ahner, owner and director of Clayton’s Galerie Bonheur, who’s been buying and selling folk art for almost 40 years. “It’s real. It’s from the heart and soul. It’s not contrived. It comes from the artists’ need to express themselves.”
Although she’s studied art history in Rome, in New York and at Washington University in St. Louis, Ahner traces her interest in folk art back to when she first visited Haiti in 1978. She was drawn to the bright colors and inherent joy, calling the pieces she saw “sincere and full of hope…….click here to read the full story
by Laurie Ahner
Francisco Severino was born in 1952, in Descoberto, Minas Gerais, Brazil. He then moved to Sao Paulo in 1972, and began his full-time career as a self-taught artist in 1975 after quitting his job as a metalworker. He is well-known for his accuracy in details and technical perfection. He primarily paint rural scenes and nature in Brazil. Art critic Oscar d’Ambrosio wrote, “His great virtue is the way he works with green, with variations of one who is aware that the painting is much more than the subject matter; it is a way to develop a thought through colours and shapes. What is most impressive about his paintings is the blend of technical accuracy with the heavenly feeling that time stopped so that it could be painted in several scenes, primarily rural ones, immaculately depicted and permeated with essential details”. He has shown his work in numerous shows internationally.
Josiane Magloire creates traditional Haitian flags with beaded and embroidered depictions of everyday life, traditional Vodou (Voodoo) imagery, and the flowers, fruit, animals, and birds of Haiti.
Each bead and sequin is placed one at a time and hand stitched onto the piece. The unique combinations of embroidery and beadwork showcase the creative style of the artist. While traditional flags largely feature deities and Vodou symbols, Josiane and her fellow cooperative members are creating designs that represent their lives and the world around them. Through sales of her art, Josiane is able to support her family and pay for her children’s education. (From International Folk Art Alliance)
José García Antonio uses clay from the soil of his village to create life-sized sculptures of Zapotec women and mermaids. Known for his large creations, he has won many awards and has been featured in books about master folk artists of Mexico. After problems with his sight for 50 years, he is now nearly blind but continues to work daily. His wife assists in the finishing details of the sculptures.
He has passed his art onto his children who work in the family compound alongside him. Students from local schools often come to the workshop for demonstrations and hands-on sessions. (From International Folk Art Alliance)