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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Folk Art: Folk Sculpture: Angel of Death
Angel of Death

Angel of Death
Robert Windham
12 x 6 3/4 x 7 5/8 in. (30.5 x 17.0 x 19.4 cm.)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. James L. Whitehead and Mr. P. Elliot Ellis
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Sculptor Robert Windham lived in rural Alabama and drew much of his inspiration from statues and gravestones in local cemeteries. He carved Angel of Death 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. In this piece the angel shows compassion for a dying man who lies comforted by her enveloping arms and sweeping wings.

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