Untitled (Uncle Sam)

Copied Edgar Tolson, Untitled (Uncle Sam), 1972, painted wood, 29 34 × 8 × 7 14 in. (75.6 × 20.3 × 18.4 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Orren and Marilyn Bradley and Kohler Foundation, Inc., 2015.58.23

Artwork Details

Untitled (Uncle Sam)
29 34 × 8 × 7 14 in. (75.6 × 20.3 × 18.4 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Orren and Marilyn Bradley and Kohler Foundation, Inc.
Mediums Description
painted wood
  • Figure male — full length
  • Dress — costume — Uncle Sam costume
Object Number

Artwork Description

Edgar Tolson was fifty-three when a stroke impaired the use of his hand. In early years, he had pursued woodcarving as a hobby, but it was not until the stroke forced him to sell his tobacco farm that he turned seriously to his craft. He began to carve as a form of physical therapy and to pass the time he could no longer spend farming. Over one thousand works are credited to this Kentucky carver. Tolson preferred to work with poplar and used paint sparingly to highlight specific details. In this sculpture of Uncle Sam, whose slender physique is thought to have resembled that of the artist, he painted the clothes and hair of the figure but left the natural wood grain to serve as skin.