Purvis Young


Purvis Young, Florida folk art genius, is a self- professed loner living in Overtown, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in downtown Miami. Purvis Young produces powerful, impressionistic paintings of inner city life and conflict which have catapulted him into the limelight as a significant force in the world of folk art. In Overtown he collected the detritus of the inner city - broken signs, furniture parts, discarded school books, business forms – and turned them into urban art that graces the walls of many a folk art gallery, museum and private collection throughout the world. A quiet man absorbed in his mission Purvis Young believes he was born “to paint, not to live – that’s what God put me here for. I never hardly say too much to my neighbors. I just keep my mouth shut…God didn’t put me on earth to say too much. God put me here to paint”.

Sadly, Purvis Young died Tuesday morning, April 20th at the age of 67 leaving a rich legacy of unique art.

Selected Publication examples:
2003, February 3, Miami Herald, “Young American”, by Elisa Turner
2000, Summer, Smithsonian American Art Museum, American Art Magazine, feature article: “Going Urban: American Folk Art and the Great Migration”, Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, chief curator of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Selected Exhibitions examples:
2003 Art Sante Fe, Sante Fe, NM
2002 Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, “Urban Outsider”
2001 Smithsonian Collection: Contemporary Folk Art, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
1999 Museum of American Folk Art, New York City, NY “Self Taught Artists of the 20th Century: an American Anthology”

Selected Public Collections examples:
Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL
New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA
Federal Reserve Board, Atlanta, GA
Sackner Archives, University of Oregon, Portland, OR
Springfield Museum of Art, Springfield, OH

 

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