This book explores the world of American folk art collectors people who saw the beauty and value of the furnishings, implements, and itinerant portraits that mainstream America had hitherto relegated to attics, barns, and dust bins. Although pioneer collectors sought out and preserved objects that are today regarded as icons, little has been known of their motivations, aesthetics, or display techniques.
Unlike the mainly white, professional, male collectors of furniture, silver, and other traditional decorative arts who were the subject of Elizabeth Stillinger's classic study The Antiquers, the earliest folk art collectors were a bohemian crowd made up of women, artists, immigrants, oddballs, and outsiders. They were drawn to folk art not by its prestige value but by its artistic, instructive, and ethnological significance.
A Kind of Archeology begins by examining the evolution of the concept of folk art, relating it to nineteenth- and early twentieth-century movements such as romanticism, nationalism, arts and crafts, and colonial revivalism. Four sections follow, each presenting a category of collector-antiquarian and ethnologist, modernist, decorator and aesthete, and patriot and nationalist-and offering portraits of individual collectors and dealers.
The book closes with the exhibition The Flowering of American Folk Art, 1776-1876, which opened in 1974. The show was so successful that prices shot skyward, and folk objects, after a century of being disregarded, misunderstood, then championed by a few enthusiasts and gradually accepted in a small segment of the art world, finally entered the realm of highly desirable and collectible art.
19Th Century American, 19Th Century Carved, 19Th Century Edwardian, 19Th Century French, 19Th Century Inlaid, 19Th Century Serpentine, Adams Style Kneehole, America 1876 1976, American 19Th Century, Antique 19Th Century, Antique American 19Th, Antique Victorian Dressing, Archeology Collecting Folk, Art America 1876, Century American Federal, Century Carved Inlaid, Century French Inlaid, Century Inlaid Mahogany, Century Serpentine Profusely, Collecting Folk Art, Edwardian Mahogany Inlaid, English 19Th Century, English Adams Style, Federal Inlaid Mahogany, Front Sideboard Inlaid, Inlaid Kingwood Side, Inlaid Mahogany 19Th, Inlaid Mahogany Bowfront, Inlaid Mahogany Sheraton, Inlaid Tiger Maple, Inlaid Walnut Forest, Mahogany 19Th Century, Mahogany Bowfront Chest, Mahogany English Adams, Mahogany Sheraton Sideboard, Maple Slant Front, Profusely Inlaid Center, Serpentine Front Sideboard, Sideboard Inlaid Flame, Tiger Maple Slant, Victorian Dressing Inlaid, Walnut Forest Armchair