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William, Tolliver (Man at Pump)


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"Man at Pump" by William Tolliver

12 x 16 inches, mixed media on paper -- framed

William Tolliver (1951-2000) was a gifted and self-taught artist who was born to a poor farmer and grew up with 13 siblings in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Inspired even as a child, Tolliver learned by reading books and paint-by-the-numbers kits at home, since there was no art class at his school. By the time he was eight, he was already making remarkable progress, and he would mow lawns for the money to buy supplies. At 14, he dropped out of school and traveled to Los Angeles on a promise of work with the Job Corps - a carpenter teacher who had some art experience taught Tolliver what little he knew.

By the 1980's he was married and living in Lafayette, Louisiana. With an impressive body of work, but not enough confidence in himself, he was surprised when his wife snuck his artwork out to a local gallery owner. His nine paintings sold in ten days, and the rest is history. He has been featured in major art publications, including The Art Gallery International and the International Review of African American Art. His works is in the permanent collections of the Corcoran Museum, McKissick Museum, Hampton University Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art and the Zigler Museum.
Bio via qart.com