Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Mose T: An American Artist
About twenty-five years ago, James purchased a painting from American folk artist Mose T (Moses Toliver, 1920-2006) from the artist's front porch in Montgomery, Alabama. Since then we started collecting Mose T's graphically interesting images crafted out of house paint on scraps of plywood. Left crippled from an accident at his factory job in the 1970's, Mose T was given a set of paints to occupy himself. It turned out to be a blessing of sorts. A prolific artist, Mose T's work is now in the Smithsonian collection and can still be purchased through his gallery Marcia Weber Art Objects.
Seen here are a few of our pieces. The top one, a self portrait, is the oldest. Notice how he depicts the body, emphasizing Mose T's limited mobility. The Blue Watermelon, a later piece, is my favorite. When I asked him why he painted the watermelon blue, I anticipated all sorts of aesthetic and meaningful reasons. Instead, Mose T said, "I ran out of red." Simple enough.