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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Folk Art: Folk Painting: Adam and Eve Leave Eden
Adam and Eve Leave Eden

Adam and Eve Leave Eden
John William ("Uncle Jack") Dey
model airplane enamel on fiberboard
23 1/8 x 47 in. (58.7 x 119.4 cm.)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson

Uncle Jack Dey created this brightly colored scene to show the moment when Adam and Eve were cast out from paradise. An angel flies down to greet the couple with an eviction notice, while their bleak future is spelled out in a note on the ground: Gravy train gone. Adam settled down. Work hard in the barren land . . . Dey copied the figures from a reproduction of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling, but instead of showing a large, threatening snake as their tempter, he painted a small creature that hides in the grass. (Lynda Hartigan, Made with Passion, 1990) The artist filled the painting with stripes and dabs of pure color to evoke Eden's lush surroundings.

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