Cynthia and Co.

Cynthia and Co.
"My Junk Inspired L I F E"


Artist Ellis Wilson at Tulane University

Hi there!

Today I am going to talk about an artist who you may not know much about even though you probably have seen his printed posters.  The artist's name is Ellis Wilson (1899-1977).
I am choosing to feature his works because they are pure, somewhat primitive, and go well in rooms that are decorated primarily with antiques and recycled elements

ellis wilson | funeral procession

 We own two of his prints and one sits in our studio, facing me as I type this post.  The title of this painting is Funeral Procession (for years I thought it was a wedding procession because the women are wearing white dresses).  It was painted circa 1950 and the original is an oil on composite board, measuring 30.5x29.25.  In my research I found that this painting became popular when The Cosby Show, in 1985, did an episode where Mrs. Huxtable acquires the painting from her uncle Ellis.  After that episode, the "painting" hung over the Huxtable mantel for the duration of the series.

ellis wilson | field workers
The second poster (sitting in our garage waiting for new glass)  is from an original oil on fiberboard: Masonite titled Field Workers.  Its original was 29.75x34 7/8 and is owned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  I can see this in a room with blue denim slipcovers, painted country furniture and yellow daisies in ironstone pitchers.  Both works look like they are from the '30s or earlier which is another reason they lend themselves well to vintage style rooms.
In 1941 this artist was quoted as saying, " My project or plan doesn't take much telling.  I want to paint...there is so much to paint and so little time."  His works have been cited for paving the way for other black artists and even though he gained national acclaim he died in obscurity in 1977 as a pauper.

cynthia and co. | ellis wilson print

So, how to use Ellis Wilson art in your junk inspired rooms? 
We have used Funeral Procession in a room that was painted a dreamy white with  an original oil of unknown origin, an African print and orange and green throw pillows (to balance the enormous amount of color in the print)...very beautiful! 

cynthia and co. | african print

I bought the Wilson to go with this original oil painting I got at auction.  The orange isn't totally versatile but everything looks nice together (with my sweet little painting).

cynthia and co. | original oil painting

cynthia and co. | oil painting artist unknown

cynthia and co. | signature unknown artist
Side note:  I've done a lot of research on this little oil painting and I can't find the artists signature anywhere.  Anyone recognize this artist and work?

Below you can see this print sitting on our desk in a dark green room.  Its more subtle, more toned down than against a white background but still very beautiful. In this environment the orange and green together are almost calming and I like the way it casually sits on the desk in front of an old panel door.  The equal amounts of black and white allow the image to work with white painted furniture, black furniture or natural woods with hints of orange in the stain.

So, if you want a series of prints that lend themselves to your flea market style, maybe Ellis Wilson prints will work for you!

cynthia and co.

When I first started researching this man's paintings I wasn't aware that one of his original works, Funeral Procession,  was at Tulane University, just a hop, skip and jump from our house.  Tomorrow I am going to investigate more and see if this is a permanent display or only showing for a limited time.  Hopefully I'll be able to do a postscript with some details about the art display in NOLA.

Aaron Douglas Collection
Amistad Research Center
Tilton Hall, Tulane University
6823 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70118

Bye for now...Cynthia

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:38 AM CST

    its really amazing how people can paint so well with oil painting. i am so amazed with the painting of cynthia. its like, so real.

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