Philadelphia

William Edmondson

Janet Fleischer Gallery

“Miracles,” which brought together 36 works by the sculptor William Edmondson (ca. 1882–1951), was the first solo show of this self-taught artist’s work to be mounted in 20 years. A Tennessee native, Edmondson was active from approximately 1931–49; he was not only the first black artist to be honored with a solo show at MoMA, but he was also the first American self-taught artist to make his mark on the mainstream. It remains rather puzzling, then, that apart from a number of recent survey shows, and the support of a few devotees, Edmondson’s work has remained in the shadows despite the current explosion of interest in self-taught artists. “Miracles” made the central reason for this quite clear: Edmondson’s uniquely minimal style of stone carving diverges radically from the painterly, expressionistic, more-is-more sensibility typically associated, for better or for worse, with the work of

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