This week, we are celebrating the birth of Amos Ferguson, the national treasure of the Bahamas. Amos was born on February 28, 1920, in Exuma, and 2023 will mark his 103rd birthday.
I was lucky to travel to Nassau, The Bahamas, for his birthday this year. I visited Amos’ old home/studio, saw my old/new friends, and enjoyed his vibrant, timeless work at local museums and galleries. Although I sometimes felt melancholic, I was reminded of the incredible privilege of knowing such a remarkable artist with a beautiful soul for the last three decades through his death in 2009. He was my friend and inspiration – and he still is. His captivating works continue to give my clients and me much joy and optimism. I am grateful for your love and support for Amos.
Here, we are showcasing select works with special prices. Please reach us with any questions. We are enthused to find new homes for these works.
It’s hard to believe it’s already the last day of February. Wherever you are, I hope you are staying warm – I wish for your health and well-being.
Amos Ferguson (1920-2009) was a house painter by profession who began painting in his 40s. Amos stated that God told him to paint His world’s beauty, celebrate the Bible and nature, and show off his native Bahamas. Amos followed God’s commands and painted prolifically for many years.
One day, Amos received a vision from God in a dream. He claimed to,“Paint by Faith, Not by Sight.” Amos did not paint what he saw, but what he dreamed.
His subjects include 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 other countries.
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. (Some images are from the Ford Times, December 1983. Photographs by Arnold, S. Hirsch.)
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 email@example.com or 314.409.6057.
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.
I am appealing to you on behalf of our wonderful and talented artist from Haiti, Gabriel Bien-Aimé.
I’ll be frank: he needs money to travel to Haiti to create artwork for the Santa Fe Folk Art Market in July 2023. This longstanding art fair showcases incredible folk artists from around the world, bringing thousands of visitors each year. Gabriel was one of the finest artists selected to exhibit this year. However, the current dire sociopolitical circumstances in Haiti prevented him from participating. Gabriel has been stuck in Boston, working manual labor at a restaurant to make ends meet. He hasn’t been able to make his art there; he needs to be at his studio in Haiti with his metal supplies and workers to help.
Haiti, Gabriel’s home country that he loves deeply, is currently in a dangerous state. Gang violence and poverty are rising at an alarming level. Although going into such a difficult situation would be risky for Gabriel, he wants to go nevertheless. He has his family there, and that’s where he creates his masterpieces. His family depends on his income from making and selling his art. Because Gabriel has not been able to go to Haiti for a year due to the dangers, he missed out on participating in the Market this year. Last year in 2021, Gabriel sold 39 works of art! That money has already been spent as he needed every dime.
Please support Gabriel by purchasing his artwork at our full price or making a fair offer! I promise that all the funds will go to Gabriel to help his trip to Haiti.
Thank you for your continued generosity and purchases from Galerie Bonheur over the years!
Curt Whiticar (1911 – 2017) was a fisherman and boat builder by trade. His family moved to Stuart, Florida when he was 6 years old. A self-taught painter, at a young age he was paid to paint lettering on boats and local signage, which included some scenery. Around 1950 a house fire destroyed most of his 25-30 personal paintings, and it was not until his retirement in 1986 that he dedicated his time to painting. Over the next 31 years, Whiticar produced nearly 2,000 works, with oil his favorite medium. Vibrant and ethereal Florida landscapes, seascapes, and local historical scenes were common themes. Whiticar also cut and stretched his own canvas, and built his frames from scratch.
Cincinho was born Inocêncio Alves dos Santos in 1907. He was raised in Muritiba, a state of Bahia, Brazil. Having a barber as a father and cigar maker as a mother, Cincinho learned craftsmanship through his parents. He worked as a decorative wall painter in Cachoeira for many years throughout his adult life. In 1973 at the age of 66, he began to paint. He primarily used wax crayons on paper, delicately depicting the rural scenes and landscapes he remembered from wandering through the Recôncavo in his youth. His skilled use of gradations of pastel colors adds subtle luminosity and poetic nuances. Cincinho painted in the dining room of his home, where he always warmly welcomed family and friends. Since 1977, his work has been exhibited in many galleries and museums around the globe, including Museum of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro, Museum of Primitive Art in Assisi in São Paulo, Musée D’Art Naif de L’lle de France in Paris among others.
Amos Ferguson (the Bahamas, 1920 – 2009) was a house painter by profession who began painting when he was a boy. He received a vision from God in a dream; 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 Ferguson claimed to, “Paint by Faith, Not by Sight.”
Happy first day of Spring! We hope you find yourselves healthy and happy.
“If you’ve never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom.”— Audra Foveo Art has always been a source of self-expression and joy in the most difficult times. We hope to continue to bring comfort and cheer to your home while we all weather the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19.
Galerie Bonheur would be happy to creatively assist you with your purchase during these trying times, for suggestions and inquiries please don’t hesitate to contact us.
All the best, Laurie & staff firstname.lastname@example.org 314.409.6057 (call or text)
(image above: Amos, Ferguson (Bahamas), Orange White and Red Flowers on Green and Blue, 1982. Enamel on paperboard, 29 x 28 inches. Please inquire.)
Amos Ferguson (Bahamas, 1920 – 2009) was a house painter by profession who began painting when he was a boy. He received a vision from God in a dream; 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 Ferguson claimed to, “Paint by Faith, Not by Sight.”
Mary Frances Whitfield (b. 1947, Alabama) focuses her rich paintings on the historical and modern plight of African-Americans, and the cruelty and injustice they have experienced. The powerful works contain little detail; the figures have no facial features. Instead, the drama of their gestures or body language conveys the feeling of the painting.
Mary Frances Whitfield, Children Picking Eggs With Mother. Watercolor and Gouache on Arches Paper, 18 3/4 x 24 1/2 inches, Framed. Please contact Laurie Ahner for any inquiry. email@example.com or 314.409.6057 (call or text)
Mary Whitfield, Chasing Chickens. Watercolor and gouache on Arches paper. 13-1/2 x 18-1/2 inches; 22-1/2 x 28 inches, framed. Please inquire.
Janice Yvonne Kennedy was born fourth of six children, in 1941, in Harbins Community, Georgia. Until the age of fifteen, she worked in the fields as a sharecropper. Janice never went past the ninth grade. Her dad made her stay home to work in the fields. By the age of ten, she could pick one hundred pounds of cotton a day. Janice is a self-taught artist and born-again Christian. When she starts a painting, she asks, “Lord, what would you have me paint today?”
Miss Daisy with Orange Flower Acrylic on board image – 11 x 13-1/2 inches framed – 15 x 19 inches Was $550, SALE $495
Mountain Majesty, North Carolina Acrylic on board 29 x 23 inches, framed $850