BUFORD, Ga. – A sale featuring the self-taught and international folk art collection of Hollywood film director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia) will be offered in Slotin Auction’s Nov. 10 sale. The sale will include almost 900 lots (300 from Demme’s collection) representing more than 400 artists.
Featured in the Demme collection:
Judgment Day by Pauleus Vital (1918-1984); Vital was a Haitian master painter, and this work served as cover art for Demme’s Island on Fire book. The oil on Masonite painting depicts the dead breaking out of their coffins to face judgment. Vita’s paintings are quite rare. This one is dated, May 25, 1983, and measures 31 inches by 26 inches. It is estimated at $8,000-$12,000.
Hippos by Ellis Walter Ruley (1882-1959); Ruley was an African-American primitive self-taught artist who lived in a predominantly white suburban neighborhood in Connecticut. He came into money thanks to an accident settlement, married a white woman and died a suspicious death. Hippos is oil on Masonite, 30 inches by 24 inches; estinmate $18,000-$25,000.
Seven Headed Lion Beast With Ten Horns by William Blaney (1917-1986); one of two works by Blaney to be sold, this is an oil on canvas, done around 1960. Blaney, a part-time preacher, took his inspiration from Revelations 13: And I stood upon the sand and sea, and saw a beast rise out of the sea having seven heads and ten horns; $15,000-$20,000.
“No matter how much you continue to love each and every one of the hundreds of pieces you’ve painstakingly acquired over the years, eventually you’ve got to slim down,” Demme wrote in a letter to Steve and Amy Slotin, the owners of Slotin Auction.
“Many people reading this note know this truth all too well … If you’re as obsessive as I surely am, the day comes when all the walls are full. You’ve got dozens-plus pieces out visiting friends and family all over the place, your closets are stuffed, and the basement and attic are tough to move around in. So here in Georgia is the first big wave of my oft-pondered art loss diet.”
Other featured lots include Howard Finster, Sam Doyle, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Lanier and Arie Meaders, Billy Ray Hussey, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Mose Tolliver, William Hawkins, Ralph Fasanella, Clementine Hunter and Daniel Pressley.
Among the anticipated top lots is a storage jar, signed and dated April 25, 1861, by Dave the Slave. Born around 1800, Dave was bought and sold by the Drake, Gibbs, Miles and Landrum families near Edhefield, S.C. It is believed he learned the art of pottery from the Drakes. He signed and dated more than 100 jars; estimate $35,000-$45,000.
A free 100-page color catalog is available by calling 404-403-4244, or 770-532-1115. For more information, visit www.slotinfolkart.com.