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Self-Portrait with Banjo

1986 Jimmy Lee Sudduth Born: Caines Ridge, Alabama 1910 Died: Fayette, Alabama 2007 mixed media: mud, paint, and vegetable matter on board 49 x 25 1/4 in. (124.5 x 64.1 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment 1997.124.40 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 23A


Luce Center Quote

“This is somethin’ new. This is somethin’ the art people ain’t got---in the whole world.” Jimmy Lee Sudduth, quoted in Nancy Callahan, “Plywood for his canvas, turnip greens for paint, old houses as subject,” The Christian Science Monitor, July 23, 1980

Luce Center Label

Jimmy Lee Sudduth starts his mud paintings by drawing the outline with a “dye-rock,” a soft stone sometimes used by Native Americans to paint their skin. He then fills in the shapes with a mixture of mud, sugar, and paint, and rubs leaves and berries over the top for more color. (Chuck and Jan Rosenak, Museum of American Folk Art Encyclopedia, 1990) Sudduth uses the sugar so that the mud will harden, and sometimes even adds honey or Coca Cola to the mixture. (Nancy Callahan, “Plywood for his canvas, turnip greens for paint, old houses as subject,” The Christian Science Monitor, July 23, 1980) In this image, he applied only three colors to create a vibrant self-portrait. The deep blue of the background and the bright white of the figure’s clothing emphasize the rich, earthy tones of the mud he used to “paint” his skin.

Keywords

Ethnic - African-American

Object - musical instrument - banjo

Occupation - art - painter

Portrait male - Sudduth, Jimmy Lee - full length

Portrait male - Sudduth, Jimmy Lee - self-portrait

painting

folk art

mixed media

paint

soil - mud

wood

About Jimmy Lee Sudduth

Born: Caines Ridge, Alabama 1910 Died: Fayette, Alabama 2007

More works in the collection by
Jimmy Lee Sudduth