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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Folk Art: Folk Sculpture: Angel of Birth
Angel of Birth

Angel of Birth
about 1978-79
Robert Windham
13 x 7 1/2 x 7 1/4 in. (33.0 x 18.9 x 18.5 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. James L. Whitehead and Mr. P. Elliot Ellis

Sculptor Robert Windham lived in rural Alabama and drew much of his inspiration from statues and gravestones in local cemeteries. He carved Angel of Birth from catalpa wood, a light-colored exotic hardwood that is native to the eastern United States. Windham applied tung oil to the surface to create a rich, golden finish that emphasizes the wood's subtle grain. The angel's joyful expression as she holds the baby close to her chest symbolizes the celebration associated with a newborn child.

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