History of SELF-TAUGHT
& OUTSIDER ART

Josef Helfenstein, "Bill Traylor and Charles Shannon: A Historic Encounter in Montgomery," in Bill Traylor 1854-1949: Deep Blues (1999)


Bill Traylor
Blue Man with Umbrella and Suitcase, 1939
pencil and tempera on cardboard
American

At the sight of Traylor absorbed in his work, Shannon [Charles Shannon, who befriended Traylor in 1939] witnessed a process that profoundly fascinated him: he saw how a person who could not even write and had never drawn or painted discovered the secret of visual creation through the possibilities of the line.[1] In the days and weeks that followed, he observed how Traylor, in a phase of unceasing productivity, came to terms artistically with his past life and the things he saw around him. "Drawing became Traylor’s life. He worked all day; some evenings I would drop by around ten o’clock and he would still be there, his drawing board in his lap, a brush in his hand. He was calm and right with himself, beautiful to see."[2]




[1] Charles Shannon, "Bill Traylor's Triumph," in Art and Antiques, February 1988, p. 88.

[2] Ibid, 62.


Excerpt source:
Josef Helfenstein, "Bill Traylor and Charles Shannon: A Historic Encounter in Montgomery," in Bill Traylor 1854-1949: Deep Blues, edited by Josef Helfenstein and Roman Kurzmeyer (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1999) 99.


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