Minnie Evans Drawing, ca. 1950
My grandfather met Minnie Evans and knew Minnie Evans fairly well. He was a farmer in Wilmington, North Carolina. Well, he passed away not too long ago, but everyone knew Minnie as the gatekeeper at Arlie Botanical Gardens down in Wilmington, and as the the gatekeeper, many guests would see her, my mom also saw her, as well. She would have these soup cans and coffee cans filled with pencils, crayons, and colored pencils and all these paint brushes.
So, when did your family acquire this work from her?
This was given to my grandfather and grandmother back in 1969.
That's fantastic. A great story and that's the kind of provenance that we love to hear. With many African American artists, we don't necessarily know the story, the background, and especially as you have this family connection. This is really a very typical work of hers, if you've seen her work before. She specializes as a folk artist in this sort of fantastic imagery. It's out of her imagination and wonderful drawing with whole passages of faces and interlocking themes. The colors, the size, the colored pencils that you mentioned, which is a nice detail to know. I didn't know that, are really what we see in her drawings. They are usually of this size. They were collected by people who came down to visit her, and she did have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum and really gained prominence. A work of this size with colored pencils and this imagery is fairly typical. The condition looks good. There's minor wear at the edges, but the colors are still bright, which is the important thing. Has it been like this for awhile?
Actually, yes. It was put away, but the tape in the corners and everything else were original from Minnie Evans, and how she would tack it up, and start working.
The artist would tape the piece of paper down so it wouldn't move while they were drawing. So, we have remnants of her tape, and the signature, a very typical signature lower right. It has everything that her work is about. It's a wonderful example. What do you think something like this would be valued today?
I have no idea. I've never had it appraised.
Well, her work has actually come up frequently at auction and an auction estimate for something of this size would be two to $4,000.
Wow. Thank you.
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