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Folk Art Carved Walking Stick. Powerful yet Quiet Spirit.....SALE PENDING
Eastern United States, found in Western New York State, yet possibly Southern, ca. 19th century. Appears to be hickory, the head deeply carved from the natural knot or burl at the top of the stick following the organic shape of the wood. A remarkably sensitive image, naïvely rendered yet with careful consideration, perhaps a self-portrait, of an African American man with slightly downcast posture, which to my eye communicates strength yet sadness. The character of the carving amplified by the original black paint that is worn through on the high spots, burnished smoothly from frequent handling, revealing the warm underlying wood color. Overall length about 34 1/2 inches. See page 73: American Vernacular, for a similar yet less powerful example. Also see American Folk Art Canes, Personal Sculpture, George Meyer, with an insightful discussion of African American walking sticks and canes. This historic and inspiring piece grabbed me the moment I first saw it.
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