Skip Navigation

Angel

William Edmondson

American Art

On View: American Identities: A New Look, Making Art: Centennial Era, 5th Floor
The son of slaves, folk carver William Edmondson did not begin to create art until 1931, when the Nashville hospital where he worked as an orderly closed. A deeply religious man, he obeyed what he experienced as a divine calling to carve tombstones. "I was out in the driveway with some old pieces of stone," he explained, "when I heard a voice telling me to pick up my tools and start to work on a tombstone. I looked up in the sky and right there in the noon daylight He hung a tombstone out for me to make." Gradually, Edmondson extended the scope of his work to include small animals and figures as well. Angel conveys the essence of his art in its graceful directness and simplicity. The pitted limestone surface recalls the weathered faces of the early American and African American tombstones that were the source for many of his forms.
MEDIUM Limestone
DATES n.d.
DIMENSIONS 18 1/2 x 13 1/2 x 7 in. (47.0 x 34.3 x 17.8 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Unsigned
COLLECTIONS American Art
ACCESSION NUMBER 87.28
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol Collection
RIGHTS STATEMENT © artist or artist's estate
Copyright for this work may be controlled by the artist, the artist's estate, or other rights holders. A more detailed analysis of its rights history may, however, place it in the public domain.

The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.

For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch.

For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright.

If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact copyright@brooklynmuseum.org.
CAPTION 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. © artist or artist's estate
IMAGE overall, 87.28_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION 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.
RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (83%)
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.