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The son of enslaved parents, William Edmondson did not begin to sculpt until 1931, when the Nashville hospital where he worked as an orderly closed. A deeply religious man, he believed he had a divine calling to carve tombstones. Gradually, he extended the scope of his work to include small animals and figures. Angel conveys the essence of his art in its directness and simplicity. The pitted limestone surface recalls the weathered early American and African American tombstones that were sources for many of his motifs.
18 1/2 x 13 1/2 x 7 in. (47.0 x 34.3 x 17.8 cm) (show scale)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol Collection
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William Edmondson (American, 1874-1951). Angel, n.d. Limestone, 18 1/2 x 13 1/2 x 7 in. (47.0 x 34.3 x 17.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol Collection, 87.28 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 87.28_SL1.jpg)
overall, 87.28_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Blocky and simplifed figure of angel standing on a rectangular plinth with hands clasped in front of belly, wings attached to hooded cloak that falls to floor around body, surfaces roughly hewn and pocked.
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