Condition Report

Bid online at Bidsquare >

We will take you to Bidsquare, our preferred online bidding platform. Create your user account on Bidsquare (it only takes a moment) and register as a bidder in this sale.

Return to Catalog >

Continue browsing on Rago.

Bid with Rago >

Arrange a phone/absentee bid.

Back to Curiouser and Curiouser / October 22, 2017


BESSIE HARVEY (American, 1929-1994)

A painted female root sculpture on custom stand, 1993, mixed media, approx. 50" x 46" x 19", along with three drawings: "In the Mind of the Fish", pastels and pencil, signed and titled, 11 1/2" x 9" (sight); Untitled (Faces) pastels and pencil, 13 5/8" x 10 1/2" (sight), and "Eyes of the Mind", 1992, pastels, marker and pencil, signed, dated and titled, 17 1/2" x 11 1/2"; Provenance: Purchased from the artist, 1993; Powerful and mysterious, Bessie Harveyуs root sculptures capture, by her own description, "The souls in the branches that I hear when I talk to the trees". She has also, to a lesser degree, produced drawings with this same subtext and narrative. In 1995 Harvey was included in the Whitney Biennial in New York, chosen to fill the exhibitionуs diversity quota, serving as the consummate outsider: an untrained, African-American woman in a mainstream art world which favors the work of art-educated white men. The Biennial dramatically eulogized and canonized her as a Southern folk saint. Harvey was also the subject of a major 1997 retrospective entitled "Awakening the Spirit: Art by Bessie Harvey," at the Knoxville Museum of Art in Tennessee. Considered "star status" among collectors of African American self-taught artists, Harveyуs sculptures are in the permanent collections of major museums including the Whitney Museum of Art in New York.

Sale Price: $1,188

Estimate: $900 - $1,500

Condition Report

Figure detaches from stand. Heavy surface soiling, some intended by artist. Few bottle caps slightly loose on sculpture.