• Velvet Underdogs: In Praise of the Paintings the Art World Loves to Hate Without a doubt, black-velvet painting lives up to its reputation as the pinnacle of tackiness. You could point to any number of cheap, poorly done images of Elvis, scary clowns, matadors, “Playboy” nudes, and strange unicorns sold to American tourists by Mexican painters starting in the '50s. But when velvet collectors Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin look at these pieces, they see something else.…
  • Primitive American Portraits Various articles on what and how to collect have stressed the importance of broadening one's interest. "Remember," says one writer, "that the neglected antique of today may become the sought-after one of tomorrow." Nowhere is the truth of this more evident than with the type of American portraiture known as primitive. Less than a decade ago these likenesses of moderately well-to-do American…
  • Collecting American Primitives The start of a collection always seems surprising in retrospect. My collecting began because, over a sofa in our Connecticut farmhouse, there was a large space which clearly demanded an old picture. One day my husband told me that he'd seen a very cheap old painting that might be right — and added that he'd also seen a very expensive picture that we certainly wouldn't consider. But he suggested th…
  • Peaceable Kingdoms by Three Pennsylvania Primitives With interest focusing today on plans for world peace, it seems timely to juxtapose three remarkable versions of the Peaceable Kingdom, as interpreted by three generations of native American artists. Edward Hicks is the first of these. He was born in Attleborough, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in 1780. He became, successively, a coach maker and painter, farmer, preacher, sign painter, and pai…
  • Homespun Beauty: Jim Linderman on Folk Art’s Authentic Appeal My interest in 20th-century American self-taught art came about after I had gone through a million other things—from stamps to bootleg records to books about who killed JFK. I had been at CBS News in New York City for about 8 or 10 years, and I was kind of burned out from working too hard and drinking too much. So I just stopped doing both for a while. It was 1981, and the art scene was explodi…