About the Collection:
This impressive folk art shrine is one of four examples acquired from the family of Martin F. Werth (1893-1973), a Swiss-born immigrant to the United States who settled in Anoka, Minnesota, where he became a dairy farmer. Mr. Werth was also an accomplished craftsman and, in his later years, created these small architectural gems — all of which are featured individually in the Folk Art Gallery. Note the photos of Mr. Werth and one of his shrines as it appeared in his home.
About This Example:
Standing more than two feet high, this beautifully crafted shrine is distinguished, not only by its size (25-1/2” h X 13” w X 6” d), but also by the intricacy of the design and the superb condition. In this example, as in his other pieces, Mr. Werth combines the ancient art of fretwork with the notched-wood techniques of tramp art to create his castle-like structures. Here, architectural details include three niches, one that’s 15-1/2” high; carved, richly-stained rails; a large puzzlework cross on the back panel; and at the top, seven balusters supporting 16 perfect spires.
The shrine dates from the 1950s and is in excellent, original condition.