William Edmonson


was the son of former slaves. He lived and worked in Nashville, Tennessee as a laborer until 1931 when with focused spiritual motivation, but no training or experience, began carving. Using limestone blocks from demolished buildings and curbs, he first produced tombstones and then simple animals, angels, birdbaths and garden sculpture. He was the first African American artist to be featured in a solo show at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1937 and is today regarded as one of the most important self-taught artists of the 20th century.


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