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Mose Tolliver Portrait

Mose Tolliver

Also Known as: Mose T.

Pike Road, Alabama 1919

Montgomery, Alabama 2006

Active in:

  • Montgomery, Alabama

Photo Caption:
Mose Tolliver, about 1990. Photograph by Chuck Rosenak, courtesy of the Chuck and Jan Rosenak research material, ca. 1987-1998, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Luce Artist Quote

"I paint to keep my head together." The artist, quoted in Lee Kogan, "Mose Tolliver: Picture Maker," Folk Art, Fall 1993

Luce Artist Biography

In the late 1960s, Mose Tolliver was forced to retire from his job in a Montgomery, Alabama, furniture factory after a thousand-pound crate of marble fell from a forklift and crushed his legs. His former employer encouraged him to start painting, and Tolliver began to create images with house paint on pieces of plywood, Masonite, or old furniture. Unable to stand without crutches, he used to sit on his bed to paint, balancing the board on his knees. Recognition came in the 1980s with a solo show at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, and a folk art exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery, in Washington, D.C. Tolliver is known for his vibrant images of women, fantasy animals, and religious subjects, and he could paint up to ten pictures in one day.