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Untitled (Man with Pipe)

Folk and Self-Taught Art

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Untitled (Man with Pipe)

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Bill Traylor
American, 1854–1949

Date

ca. 1939–1942

Medium

Poster paint and graphite on cardboard

Accession #

1982.89

Dimensions

13 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches

Location

Currently Not on View

Description

Many scholars have connected Bill Traylor’s top-hatted men to death spirits associated with West African and Caribbean religions, such as Baron Cimetière, who is seen in Myrlande Constant’s flag on view nearby. Oral histories and literature by Southern African Americans record how visions of death as a dapper trickster, which had originated in Africa, continued to circulate and evolve in the United States. Traylor’s elegantly clad, pipe-smoking men also relate to Montgomery citizen Davis Ross, who dressed in such an elegant manner and ran the Ross-Clayton Funeral Home on (Monroe Street beginning in 1929; South Union Street from 1939 to 1958), where Traylor often spent the night in the late 1930s.

Credit

Purchase with funds from Mrs. Lindsey Hopkins Jr., Edith G. and Philip A. Rhodes, and the Members Guild