Style Court

Eight Years of Textiles, History, Art, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

2.18.2010

Nellie Mae's Journey

[Nellie Mae Rowe (1900-1982) Picking Berries, 1981, 16 1/2" x 14", Marker and Crapas on Paper, Barbara Archer Gallery]

From the outskirts of Atlanta, in early-20th-century Fayetteville, Georgia, where a creative young person first used art to escape the tedium of her chores...

[Nellie Mae Rowe Untitled, 1980, Mixed Media on Paper, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Gift of Judith Alexander and Barbara Archer Gallery.]

...to Vinings, Georgia in the late 1940s when, as a widow, she was free to spend more time making exuberantly colorful, rather surreal pictures...

...to 1970s encounters with collectors and dealers, then on to exposure in books and in the galleries of numerous museums including the High -- the art institution that received patron Judith Alexander's 21st-century gift of more than 130 works by the self-taught artist...

...to a post on a blog...

...to a coffee table in Sara Tuttle's super-chic home, Nellie Mae Rowe had an adventurous ride.

I love how Sara has small bursts of jewel-toned greens and purples and aquas playing off each other, slightly reminiscent of Nellie Mae's approach to color. (Don't you think designers' own digs always have extra flair?)

On Thursday, March 11 at 7 p.m., Joyce Cohen, Assistant Professor of Art History at Simmons College, Boston, will visit the High to discuss Rowe's work. Cohen's focus will be the imagery of house and home that pervades Rowe's art, in the context of 20th-century women's studies. Click here for details.

16 comments:

Claire Watkins, ASID allied said...

Ok, completely swear I am not stalking your blog, but a post on 'Nellie Mae Rowe' caught my eye (and I cannot get that green lampshade from earlier out of my head).

In undergrad we had to design 2 museums, both times having to pick the type of museum we designed. However, in the first one we selected the collection, as well. I designed a folk art museum and Ms. Nellie's work was part of my collection (remember it still like it was actually built)!

I always enjoy seeing her work at the High as it's the rawness of folk art that draws me to it, the free use of color, the lack of pretense in its pure expression of hope and joy.

This will be a great lecture, thanks for letting us know (and showing Sara's home).

Style Court said...

Claire -- what a cool assignment! I'm so glad you told us about it.

I also love how Nellie Mae's work is grouped at the High, at least as of a few weeks ago. It reminds me of Indian art and Chagall too, which is intriguing because this all basically came from her imagination, as I recall.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Rowe's work is so uplifting and inspiring. Yes designers own 'digs' have that extra je ne sais quoi. Have a terrific weekend ~

Style Court said...

You too DT. Thanks for stopping by.

Karena said...

Love the color she used to express herself in her art I would love to hear Joyce speak on Rowes art!

Karena

Gift registry said...

Oh! I love the fun colors around this room it looks so fresh!

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The drawings are very inspiring, I love the interior design.

Shannon Morris (Georgia College Curator) said...

Thanks so much. I think so many people respond to Rowe positively. It is so much fun to follow Stylecourt because I it reminds me of why I chose my this path.

Terry said...

I didn't know. There you go again: Thanks Ms. Court for delighting and teaching me this morning.

Elizabeth said...

I've never heard of Nellie Mae Rowe but am imediately taken with her palette. So glad to have her to learn more about. Henry Darger is another brilliant colorist and "urban" folk artist from Chicago. His life story--documented in journals he kept while compulsively following the daily weather forecasts--are also really interesting. I was introduced to his work when I was studying at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Once again, this blog is balm to the soul. Thanks for creating it with such integrity. It's my daily art and and design respite.

Keep it coming.

Elizabeth

Style Court said...

Shannon, Terry, Elizabeth -- Many thanks! Comments like this make blogging worthwhile!

And Elizabeth, thank you for mentioning Darger.

The Peak of Chic said...

A dear friend of mine has a Nellie Mae Rowe. I'll try to take a photo of it for you.

Style Court said...

J -- I'd love to see that!

A Perfect Gray said...

wonderful post. thanks

little augury said...

Colour in profusion! Love the folk art style-is this her considered designation?

Style Court said...

Gaye -- Yes!