Where can you see Bill Traylor’s artwork?

Traylor drawing

Bill Traylor draws on a street corner in a scene from “It Jes’ Happened”

Bill Traylor’s story is the stuff of legend: he was born into slavery in Alabama, lived most of his life as a sharecropper, and started drawing at the age of eighty-five, while living homeless in Montgomery, Alabama. His drawings once decorated a street corner; now he’s known as one of America’s most important folk artists.

You can learn more about Traylor’s life story in our picture book biography, It Jes’ Happened, but there’s nothing like seeing Traylor’s artwork in person. Most of it is concentrated at a few museums in the southeast, but luckily, right now there’s a traveling exhibition making its way around the US with over 60 of Traylor’s works. The paintings, borrowed from permanent collections at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, represent some of the best examples of Traylor’s unique folk art style. Here’s where the exhibit will be:

Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN (through September 23, 2012)

Mingei International Museum, San Diego, CA (dates to be announced)

Blue Man With Umbrella

“Blue Man With Umbrella,” a piece of Traylor’s artwork

Other national venues will be announced soon, so keep an eye on art museums near you to see if Traylor’s exhibit will be visiting your area. Meanwhile, you can find some of Traylor’s artwork in permanent collections at the following museums:

The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

The Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

The Milwaukee Art Museum, WI

The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL

The Museum of American Folk Art, New York, NY

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

The National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA

The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

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  1. [...] Today Bill’s art is collected by top art connoisseurs, and is on display in museums all over the world, selling for thousands of dollars. I love these kinds of stories where the “outsider” [...]

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