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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Folk Art: Folk Sculpture: Altar Piece
"Prophet" Royal Robertson

"Prophet" Royal Robertson

(born Baldwin, LA 1930 -- died Houston, TX 1997)

"Prophet" Royal Robertson spent most of his life in Louisiana. As a teenager, he left to travel along the West Coast, but returned after a few years to take care of his elderly mother. In 1955 he married, but after nineteen years his wife left him and took their children to live in Texas. Devastated, Robertson began to decorate the inside and outside of his house with drawings denouncing his wife's betrayal. Over the next decade, this obsession became a mental disorder that convinced him he was the victim of an evil female conspiracy.

Image Credits: Originally photographed by Chuck Rosenak. Image is courtesy of the Chuck and Jan Rosenak research material, 1990-1999, in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.