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African American Folk Art

Artists & Objects in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum

The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum defines its collection of American folk art as fine and decorative arts made by self-taught or minimally-trained artists and tradesmen. The museum’s particular collections range from the 1700s to the present. Folk art then and now may show an awareness of academic art, illustrate the tastes of popular culture, or indicate conservative folk roots.

Throughout the museum’s exhibitions there are a number of significant objects created by African American artists or that depict African Americans. Learn more about a selection of them by viewing these pieces and reading their labels in the exhibitions.

  • Figure Holding a Vessel

    Figure Holding a Vessel

    Artist unidentified
    Possibly Fayetteville, New York, 1849-1865
    Pine and paint
    1961.701.2
    Location: AARFAM’s Introductory exhibit
    Sculpture – north wall of exhibit
  • Marion Anderson Carving

    Marion Anderson Carving

    Elijah Pierce (1892-1984)
    Columbus, Ohio, 1975-1976
    Wood, paint, cardboard and glitter
    1995.701.1
    Location: We the People: Three Centuries of American Folk Portraits
    Portrait – west end of exhibit
  • Elija Mohammad

    Elijah Mohammad

    Attributed to Ulysses Davis (1913-1990)
    Savannah, Georgia, ca.1970
    Painted and stained mahogany
    1992.701.1
    Location: We the People: Three Centuries of American Folk Portraits
    Bust – west end of exhibit
  • Five-gallon Syrup Jug

    Five-Gallon Syrup Jug

    Attributed to David Drake (active ca. 1834 – ca. 1864)
    Edgefield, South Carolina, 1850-1860
    Ash-glazed stoneware
    1939-137
    Location: Artistry & Ingenuity: American Stoneware
    Large brown double-handled jug – near north wall
  • Dancer and Churn Whirligig

    Dancer & Churn Whirligig

    Artist unidentified
    Wood
    1979.700.1
    Location: Sidewalks to Rooftops: Outdoor Folk Art
    West wall of exhibit – lower right hand side
  • Quilt

    Pieced Quilt

    Rita Mae Pettway (b. 1941)
    Gee’s Bend, Wilcox Co, Alabama, 1990
    Cotton, polyester
    2008.609.10
    Location: Material Witnesses: Quilts and their Makers
    Northwest corner of exhibit
  • Quilt

    Pieced Quilt

    Alberta Miller (d. 1999)
    Dallas Co., Alabama, 1974
    Cotton, wool & synthetics
    2003.609.1
    Location: Material Witnesses: Quilts and their Makers
    Northwest corner of exhibit
  • banjo

    Folk Musical Instruments

    Section: “Banjos” (and related objects)
    Section: “Dance” (and related objects)
    Location: Cross Rhythms: Folk Musical Instruments
    South and west walls exhibit
  • The Old Plantation

    The Old Plantation

    Attributed to John Rose (ca. 1752/1753–1820)
    Beaufort Co., South Carolina, 1785-1790
    Watercolor on laid paper
    1935.301.3
    Location: The Old Plantation: The Artist Revealed
  • Miss Breme Jones

    “Miss Breme Jones”

    Attributed to John Rose (ca.1752/1753–1820)
    Beaufort Co., South Carolina, 1785-1787
    Watercolor & ink on wove paper
    2008.300.1
    Location: The Old Plantation: The Artist Revealed


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