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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

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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