American Folk Art

By bonnie | Published June 26, 2013

The fourth of July always makes me think of all of the great American folk art that can be found in our country. Wikipedia describes folk art as :”Folk art encompasses art produced from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring tradespeople. In contrast to fine art, folk art is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic.[1] Folk Art is characterized by a naive style, in which traditional rules of proportion and perspective are not employed. Closely related terms are Outsider Art, Self-Taught Art and Naïve art.[2  ]Following are some examples of some amazing folk art:

Folk Art Flag Gate found at the American Folk Art Museum

Folk Art Flag Gate found at the American Folk Art Museum

This beautiful and exciting example of Folk Art was said to be originally found at an auction in upstate New York surrounded by garden furniture. I think that’s a pretty good motivator to go to auctions, huh? It has been an icon of the museum since the 1960′s.

 

Weather vanes are another classic form of American folk art. According to the American Folk Art Museum, “Weathervanes are a form of folk art that, although originating in Europe, reached its greatest development in America.” There are many examples of beautifully and thoughtfully crafted weathervanes that were not only functional but designed to be decorative as well. Collector David Davies began searching out weather vanes to decorate his converted barn on New Jersey’s north shore. His splendid collection was featured in Architectural Digest.

this wonderful collection of antique weather vanes featured in Architectural Digest

this wonderful collection of antique weather vanes featured in Architectural Digest

 

Another one of my favorite examples of Folk Art is the Trade Sign. Trade Signs were originally created to advertise and announce a business establishment. They are highly collectible because of their decorative nature and make wonderful art pieces displayed on the wall.

folk art trade sign

folk art trade sign

Folk Art Optician sign

Folk Art Optician sign

an example of antique trade signs displayed as folk art

Sandy Klempner Antiques had a wide array of antique trade signs on display

These types of folk art signs have really made the transition from function to fashion and are highly coveted and often reproduced and sold as home decor.

To see more examples and learn more about Folk Art, visit the website for the American Folk Art Museum. Or better yet, visit the museum in New York! If you’ve been, I’d love to hear about it…please leave your comments below. There are also tons of books available on the subject at your local library or on Amazon. I’m fortunate to have a large personal collection of folk art thanks to my husband and in-laws and will post them soon:) Until then, I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little bit about this delightful art form!! God Bless America and Happy Independence Day!!!

 

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