1. Spirituality in the Work of Amos Ferguson

    by Laurie Ahner

    (This article was originally published in December 2016.)

    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.
    Spirituality in the Work of Amos Ferguson 01
    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.
    Spirituality in the Work of Amos Ferguson 02
    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.
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    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.
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    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.
  2. “The Beginning” by John Barton – Featured by OAF Publication

    by Laurie Ahner

    The Outsider Art Fair publication by Art Media Agency features
    “The Beginning” by John Barton (Illinois)!



    See more art by John Barton here

    John Barton (b. 1941) is a self-taught artist from Illinois. He was raised in an unstable household by severely alcoholic parents. Although Barton experienced an unfortunate upbringing and many hardships, he has enjoyed drawing and painting from an early age. Barton uses art making as a means to process his thoughts and feelings, and he tells stories through art. He alters methods and styles depending on the themes he depicts, while his work is sometimes experimental with use of the materials.

  3. New Artist: The Recluse

    by Laurie Ahner

    We are happy to announce that we are now representing the Recluse (Indiana)!

    The Recluse was raised in a working class family, and lost his parents at an early age. Later in life he suffered a blood clot, became physically disabled, and socially withdrawn as a result. Though faced with unexpected challenges and physical limitations, he discovered strength in spirituality and art-making. He finds inspiration in everyday life, painting from memory and his imagination. His work is permeated with nostalgia and a sense of tranquility, while maintaining a streak of roughness. The Recluse’s work is a reflection of his state of mind, seeking to reconcile the imperfection of reality with gratitude for life. He currently resides in Indiana, and enjoys his solitude.

    Laurie Ahner
    314-409-6057 (mobile) or

    Snow Day by The Recluse (2018). Acrylic on paperboard, 11 x 13 inches. $450.


    Blue Bird by the Recluse (Indiana)

    Blue Bird by the Recluse (Indiana)




  4. Recent Acquisition: Amos Ferguson

    by Laurie Ahner


    We are thrilled to announce that we have recently acquired these special vintage paintings by Amos Ferguson!

    All the newly acquired Amos Ferguson’s are from the early years of his career, the 70’s and 80’s, when he was going some his finest and most creative works of art.

    Please contact us for any additional information.

    (above: Pink and Red Flowers on Green, 23 x 29 inches)

    Laurie Ahner
    314-409-6057 (mobile) or

    Red Flowers in Yellow Vase, 38 x 21 inches
    Big Flower in Red, White, and Blue, 31 x 21 inches
    Orange White and Red Flowers on Green and Blue, 29 x 28 inches
    Red and Pink Carnations on Blue, 17 x 13 inches
  5. Recently Acquired Amos Ferguson

    by Laurie Ahner


    Dear friends,
    I’m offering these older Amos Ferguson paintings to you because I know you treasure his work ! Galerie Bonheur has been fortunate to find these stellar examples from the 1980’s, truly the best period of his career. At this point he had been “discovered”, was exhibiting in museums and galleries Internationally, and was at the height of his genius . We have found that these originals are not easy to procure even though Amos was very prolific. Therefore this rarity makes these works more precious and outstanding.
    Take a look, enjoy and let me know your interest soon please!
    Thank you for your love of Amos!
    Laurie Ahner
    314-409-6057 (mobile)

    1920 – 2009, Bahamas
    All artwork: enamel on paperboard
    Please inquire for any additional information: or 314-409-6057

    Noah and the Colorful Birds






    Bird Family


    Downtown Nassau

  6. American Folk Art Museum Fall Benefit Gala Auction

    by Laurie Ahner

    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.

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  7. A significant museum work of art from Galerie Bonheur Collection will be auctioned in New Mexico

    by Laurie Ahner

    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!



    L A   M U E R T E
    D E A T H   C A R T

    Photo: Copyright © Santa Fe Art Auction, 2017
    Horacio Valdez
    (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 or 314.409.6057

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    A B O U T   T H E   A R T I S T
    Horacio Valdez (1929 – 1992), a carpenter by trade, became a santero (a creator of religious images, literally “maker of saints”) in 1975 after sustaining a near fatal injury at the Nambe Dam project where he was employed. Valdez crushed his right hand in the accident and could not return to work. “I couldn’t hold a hammer,” he said, “but I could whittle.” Thus began Valdez’s prolific career as a wood carver in New Mexico, where he is noted for his influence in re-energizing traditional religious imagery.  (image below: Horacio Valdez at the completion of his work La Muerte Death Cart, at his home in New Mexico, copyright © Galerie Bonheur)
    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)
  8. Just in! Amos Ferguson

    by Laurie Ahner


    We are loving this recently acquired art by Amos Ferguson (1920-2009, Bahamas)! “Ducks at the Pond,” enamel on cardboard, 24 x 30 inches. Please inquire at or 314.409.6057.

    Amos Ferguson

    Amos Ferguson, Ducks at the Pond, enamel on paperboard, 24 x 30 inches.

    See all art by Amos Ferguson here

  9. Happy Fourth of July!

    by Laurie Ahner


    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 or 314.409.6057.

    Amos Ferguson (1920-2009, Bahamas), "A Family Around the Dinner Table," 1960. Enamel on cardboard, 30 x 36 inches.

    Amos Ferguson (1920-2009, Bahamas), “A Family Around the Dinner Table,” 1960. Enamel on cardboard, 30 x 36 inches.


    See all art by Amos Ferguson here