Amos Ferguson (1920-2009) was a house painter by profession who began painting in his 40s. One day, Amos received a vision from God in a dream. He claimed to, “Paint by Faith, Not by Sight.” Amos stated that God told him to paint the beauty of His world, to celebrate the Bible and nature, and to show off his native Bahamas. Amos followed God’s commands and painted prolifically for many years.
Amos did not paint what he saw, but what he dreamed. His subjects included Biblical scenes, nature motifs, and scenes of everyday Bahamian life, including the festival Junkanoo. His works are bold and bright, comprised of colorful shapes and patterns, making them charming, fun, and uplifting. Amos’s use of color and imagery speaks of his lush tropical surroundings in the Bahamas. He used lush enamel house paint on cardboard, creating a beautiful shiny, and smooth paint skin in his artwork.
Later in his life, Amos garnered much admiration and became a well-known artist in The Bahamas and others. His work was discovered by the New York art world in 1983 and has since toured the United States and several other countries. Today, he is considered a national treasure of The Bahamas, and his works are in many museums and private collections around the world.
For any inquiries including price and availability of artwork by Amos Ferguson, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314.409.6057.
Amos Ferguson and Laurie Ahner in 2008.
Read New York Times article Amos Ferguson, 89, Bahamian Artist, Is Dead
From Amos Ferguson: Master of Color (2010)
“My Friend Amos Ferguson” by Laurie Ahner
I first became acquainted with the art of Amos Ferguson in the early 1980s when my friend and colleague Ute Stebich introduced me to his delightful paintings. Being fairly new to the art business at the time, I trusted Ute’s professional eye and experience. When she called to tell me that she had recently discovered a true genius, her enthusiasm convinced me to drive to her house one evening and take a look. What I found was an amazing and wonderful treasure trove, which Ute generously shared with me.
I was dazzled and thrilled at by the numerous paintings – each one unique and different from the other. Amos’s bold and direct approach to each work of art made it difficult for me to choose among them. However, somehow I narrowed it down and eagerly bought eight paintings. The vibrant colors and friendly, straightforward subject matter were what compelled and persuaded me. At that time in my career, I was in love with Haitian Art and had tailored my gallery to that marvelous and fascinating genre. I found Amos’s works of art to be similar to the Haitian in that they were colorful, joyful, fun and undeniably free spirited. My life and the direction of my collection broadened that evening: I was completely entranced by the works of Amos Ferguson.
The opportunity to meet Amos did not present itself until a few years later in 1985, when I ventured forth to the Bahamas to encounter in person this creative and talented man. His simple home and studio were proof enough of the sincerity and genuineness of this spiritual and deeply inspired artist. It was a pleasure to connect personally with Amos and his wife, Bea, who both had welcoming, alluring and charming personalities. Lots of laughter and fun came from that initial meeting, and our friendship was born. I was able to buy several more paintings on that visit, and my business and personal relationship with Amos Ferguson, Master of Color, was off and running.
Amos & Bea Ferguson and Laurie Ahner at their home in Bahamas, circa 1980’s.
Over the next twenty five years, I passionately and steadily collected, exhibited and sold the works of Amos Ferguson in Greenwich and New Canaan, Connecticut; New York City; St Louis; Naples, Florida; Chicago; Atlanta; Vail; and numerous other venues. I became so attached to the work that I had a hard time parting with the paintings. So, I promised myself that when one piece sold, I would buy another soon afterward.
I tried to keep at least twenty five Amos Ferguson paintings in my collection at all times, feeling a pinch if the total dipped below twenty. I can truthfully say that I never saw a work by Amos Ferguson that I did not like or love. His art has a way of getting into and capturing my heart and staying there. I cannot imagine working in my gallery without numerous Amos Ferguson paintings around.
I took my children to meet Amos and gave each of them a painting for their own collections. It was important to me that they also get to know this man who could paint joy! I continued to introduce the work to family, friends and clients. I did many exhibits in both public and private settings, always boasting that in addition to being a great artist, Amos was a wonderful and unique human being. On all of my following trips to visit Amos, I noticed that even though his fame had increased, his life-style had remained the same. There was no fancy car, clothing or jewelry to flaunt how successful he had become. He was a humble soul, sharp as a tack, with a brilliant and joyful face, often sporting a baseball cap.
The significant point that Amos made each time I visited was how much he attributed his talents to God. He did not mince words. He always told me that God spoke through him and that he received all of his gifts and abilities from God.
There were those early on who rolled their eyes when I spoke of how Amos was inspired to paint by God in dreams. Some others were shocked at the cost of his work, wondering why and how an unpretentious native son of the Bahamas could be charging a fairly hefty price tag. During the early years of my gallery, Amos Ferguson was not yet an established or recognized name in the world of Folk Art in the United States. However, it did not bother me if years went by before I sold an Amos Ferguson painting. They were considered treasures in my collection and in my home.
In 2008, having not seen Amos in over ten years, I flew to the Bahamas again hoping to catch him in good health. I was very fortunate to do just that. On that trip I had the added bonus of meeting his niece, Lorraine, who took care of him in his later years after Bea died. Lorraine is as lovely and gracious a human being as there is.
In the intervening months, I made a total of four trips to see Amos in his humble abode on Amos Ferguson Street, always meeting him on his front porch in a chair, faithfully painting. My last trip to visit Amos and Lorraine was October 14-15, 2009. I realized that this might be the final time I would enjoy the company of this humble genius with the gentle smile. On October 19, 2009, just four days later, my friend Amos Ferguson passed away. My phone did not stop ringing that day, and has been ringing ever since, with people wanting to know more about Amos Ferguson and his wonderful paintings. For this reason we are publishing this catalog.
Thank God I knew Amos Ferguson and his artwork, for it has brought me much joy and inspiration during the last two and a half decades of selling art. I have had the privilege during those years of introducing his work and thus his spirit to many people who treasure that greatness! My life has been enriched because I knew this simple man with sparkly, piercing green eyes that looked right through to my heart and soul. Amos’s work reminds me that God made a beautiful world filled with bright colors, flowers, music, trees, birds, fish and magical creatures. I am often asked, “Who is your favorite artist in the gallery?” My answer is always the same: my friend Amos Ferguson, Master of Color.
Buy a copy of Amos Ferguson catalog Amos Ferguson: Master of Color