Posted 6 months ago
Signed, dated and titled "Antonio Pollaiolo" by the Rev. Howard Finster (1916-2001). This folk art "cut out devotional" is numbered #5821 and is painted by Finster in tractor enamel on a thick solid core door.
The front of the piece features a Renaissance styled female in profile with Finster's hallmark angels cavorting in the woods along her dress and flying through heaven in her hair. On on the front is inscribed, "This average life is only 70 years, who wants to settle for that, when you can live forever in heaven. Antonio Pollaiolo, Born 1429 - Died 1498. 9:25 - Nov 10 - 1985. By Howard Finster from God visions of other worlds."
On the reverse is incribed, "5000 - 821 works since 1976 over 10 years work night and day for you all. By Howard Finster, Summerville, GA 30747 R-2 Box 106-A, Ph (404) 857-1926. God bless you all." After which it is signed and dated by Finster, and then is continues, "When you think of it, no one yet has ever stayed on this planet that means you are going to what are you waiting on. Get right with God and live happy now, healthy people get killed everyday the only thing you can really count on is God."
Dimensions: 19.5"(H) x 8.5”(W) x 1.5"(T). Provenance: The Salvatore Scalora collection.
The underlying figure and painter chosen by Finster here is fascinating. Antonio del Pollaiolo (or Pollaiuolo) was an Italian painter, sculptor, engraver and goldsmith during the Renaissance era, who is known (or somewhat infamous) for his renderings of the brutal torture and deaths of Catholic saints. He is also regarded for his rendering of the human body in motion, which is the antithesis of Finster's flat self-taught style. The error on Finster's part, however, is that the figure chosen for this piece was actually painted by Antonio's brother, Piero del Pollaiolo (c. 1443 – 1496), also known as Piero Benci. The work in question is entitled "Portrait of a Girl" and is currently exhibited at the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan (see last picture).
Salvatore Scalora is an Associate Professor of Art and the Director of the William Benton Museum of Art at the University of Connecticut. His folk art collection, particularly his holdings of Mexican and Caribbean folk art, is well known.