American Antique Folk Art on usfolkart.com
Austin T Miller American Antiques, Incorporated, specializes in works of art and Americana created by recognized and important naive, self taught artists. Whether you call it primitive, outsider art, naive artwork or a personal passion, the charm of American Folk Art for Antique collectors has continued to expand over the years. This is a brief primer about American Folk Art for the uninitiated, and a review of usfolkart.com as a source of American Folk Art for novices and serious collectors, alike. (Note: see a detailed definition of Folk Art from Britannica, below).
Austin's primary website, usfolkart.com, has a unique inventory of rare and valuable antiques, most of them falling within the folk art genre. In particular, Austin's site always seems to include interesting weathervanes, and I recommend you view the folk art category on his website, or type "weathervane" in the search box there, to see a great variety of whimsical directionals and weathervane, most often represented in the form of farm animals: cows, roosters, and horses. Usfolkart.com also tends to provide fine examples of hand hooked rugs, which typically originate from the 19th Century and very early 20th Century. One of my favorites on his site in recent years is the Hutchinson hooked rug (at the time of this writing it was still available for sale). It depicts a mustached fellow, sleeping, surrounded by a horned snake, a pink, winged elephant--all the things that might haunt one's dreams on a troubled night. And hooked into the rug is this poem: "This man hath reached a sorry plight; strange creatures haunt his dreams at night; a helping hand, a mug of beer (and here it shows a hand holding a beer); might ease the way to water clear." Just love the imagery and color scheme on this rug, which also is expertly crafted (at least to my neophyte eye). But is this not exactly what makes the business of collecting folk art such a personal and delightful enterprise to so many: that the uniqueness of a created object can have an individual appeal, and the very fact that the appeal is yours, uniquely, makes it all the more enriching when you have the occasion to admire it hanging on the wall in your home.
I would be remiss, certainly, if I failed to mention the incredible pieces of artwork in the form of folk art paintings from the 19th Century and earlier. Usfolkart.com always seems to have some works by William Matthew Prior, a highly-desired American folk artist among knowledgible collectors. Austin does not neglect the strong interest in modern folk artists, either, to which he has dedicated an entirely separate category within his online catalog, "Twentieth (20th) Century Folk Art". Here, you commonly will find available for acquisition such artists as the African-American Folk Artist, Elijah Pierce, and the iconic works of the versatile artist Gary Birch.
Whether you are a serious collector, have unique items for which you would like Austin to give a valuation assessment, or just like to peak at the folk art items and rare antiques that are always being added to the online catalog, I hope that you will take the time to explore usfolkart.com. I can't imagine that you will be in any way disappointed for having done so.
This is an independent review of usfolkart.com, by Chris Frye, freelance writer.
Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: folk art
"Art produced in a traditional fashion by peasants, seamen, country artisans, or tradespeople with no formal training, or by members of a social or ethnic group that has preserved its traditional culture. It is predominantly functional, typically produced by hand for use by the maker or by a small group or community. Paintings are usually incorporated as decorative features on clock faces, chests, chairs, and interior and exterior walls. Sculptural objects in wood, stone, and metal include weathervanes, toys, spoons, candlesticks, and religious items. Folk architecture may include public and residential buildings, such as eastern European wooden churches and U.S. frontier log cabins. Other examples of visual folk arts are woodcuts, scrimshaw, pottery, hooked rugs, and traditional clothing."