SOLD Painted Figure on Tin by Mary T. Smith (1904-1995)


Painted Figure on Tin by Mary T. Smith (1904-1995)
When I look at the paintings of Mary Tillman Smith, especially her single-subject, poster-like pieces painted on large sheets of tin, I think to myself “This is the Andy Warhol of the self-taught arena.”

After working for years as a sharecropper, housekeeper, babysitter and cook, the Mississippi native began painting on tin roof panels around 1980, as my grandmother would say, to “pretty up” her yard. It wasn’t long before Mary T’s “yard art” captured the imagination of collectors and critics alike.

This striking piece is typical of the self-taught artist’s earlier work: a figure rendered in three primary colors on a large piece of tin. In this instance, Mary T’s use of red and black enamel over a jolt of neon yellow gives the painting enormous power. But there is a poetry to the piece as well. Look at the way the sweep of red around the face mirrors the curvature of the red arms below. Look at the face. As with the portraits of Andy Warhol, the effect is electric. Dimensions of the painting are 32-3/4” X 26-1/2. Unsigned. Excellent Condition.


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