Tolliver, one of the elder statesmen of folk art, was born July
4, 1915 (to 1920 - the exact date and year are in question)
in Pike Road community near Pintala, Alabama. Mose T, as he
has become known, moved to Montgomery as a teenager soon after
his father died and worked there for many years as a gardener,
farmer, and house painter before an accident in the late 1960’s
left him with crushed legs and precipitated a period of drunken
depression. Encouraged by a former employer to take up painting,
Mose T picked up a paintbrush, found his calling and the world
of folk art was forever enriched. A self taught artist, Mose
began to paint in his trademark palette of housepaint,
compulsively creating his own unique paintings of birds, snakes,
flowers and tree forms - later adding people and other animals.
Since the early 1980’s his works have been widely exhibited
in many folk art galleries and museums and have been increasingly
collected over the years. Mose Tolliver is recognized today
as one of the most important folk artists in the nation.
Tolliver's works are part of numerous permanent folk art collections
Birmingham Museum of Art
Akron Art Museum
Smithsonian's National Museum of American Art
folk art exhibitions show Mose Tolliver works including:
Retrospective, American Folk Art Museum, New York, NY
Passionate Visions of the American South, New Orleans, LA
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