Posted December 17, 2014
From the moment a “picker” in Seattle, Washington, emailed me photos of paintings he’d found at a local house sale and asked me to represent them, I knew instantly this was something important.
For the past two years I’ve relied on a wide circuit of art and antiques shows; ads in art and antiques journals; and my online presence as J Compton Gallery to introduce the public to the paintings of self-taught visionary artist Larry John Palsson (1948-2010).
Larry’s work is clearly driven by a deeply personal inner vision and deserves to be seen, just as his story deserves to be told. I don’t think he ever expected or intended to take his art public. He never framed it and, with one or two exceptions, it isn’t titled, dated or signed.
After organizing, cataloging and framing the work, I’ve featured it at venues around the country: the Objects of Art Show Santa Fe, where it was a special “loaned” exhibit; at the 2014 LA Art Show; The Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art; and The Tower Show in Dallas.
In January of 2015, I’m proud to be taking Larry’s paintings to New York for the very first time as part of the annual Outsider Art Fair in New York City.
Wherever the paintings are shown, people are drawn to their freshness and originality. They’re astonished by the artist’s use of color and shape and his meticulous brushwork. “Are these cut paper?” someone asked. But what they most respond to and remark on is Larry Palsson’s creative vision.
Larry’s personal story is as compelling as his art. The only child of John and Marjorie Palsson, Larry was born in Seattle where his father and several uncles had emigrated from their native Iceland. John passed away when Larry was almost 16.
Larry loved geometry and was eager to become an engineer. But he had some form of autism, from what we know, that made it impossible for him to hold a job. He lived with his mother nearly all of his life and, at some point along the way, he taught himself to paint. He died at age 62. A year later, the home he’d lived in was readied for sale and only then were his paintings discovered.
Geometric study: concentric semicircles. Acrylic on art board. Unfinished painting on verso. 14.5″ x 11.25