Airlie Oak

Copied Minnie Evans, Airlie Oak, 1954, oil paint on wood, 14 × 18 × 2 in. (35.6 × 45.7 × 5.1 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Josh Feldstein, 2017.35.2

Artwork Details

Airlie Oak
14 × 18 × 2 in. (35.6 × 45.7 × 5.1 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Josh Feldstein
Mediums Description
oil paint on wood
  • Landscape — tree — oak tree
  • Object — furniture — bench
Object Number

Artwork Description

Minnie Evans lived most of her life in North Carolina. At seventeen, she found work as a gatekeeper in the lush gardens of a coastal estate, Airlie-on-Sound, which became a public park in 1949. Evans felt inspired by God to celebrate his resplendent creations with art. In free moments, she drew or painted floral scenes with goddess-like figures in their midst. In Airlie Oak, Evans honored an immense 400-year-old tree at Airlie; a live oak over twenty-feet-wide at the base. She created this bas-relief from bits of dried paint, made malleable with turpentine and added cumulatively over time, as she explained: "I just kept on doing that until I got this big old tree."