Purvis Young


Purvis Young, Florida folk art genius, is a self- professed loner living in Overtown, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in downtown Miami. Purvis Young produces powerful, impressionistic paintings of inner city life and conflict which have catapulted him into the limelight as a significant force in the world of folk art. In Overtown he collected the detritus of the inner city - broken signs, furniture parts, discarded school books, business forms – and turned them into urban art that graces the walls of many a folk art gallery, museum and private collection throughout the world. A quiet man absorbed in his mission Purvis Young believes he was born “to paint, not to live – that’s what God put me here for. I never hardly say too much to my neighbors. I just keep my mouth shut…God didn’t put me on earth to say too much. God put me here to paint”.

Sadly, Purvis Young died Tuesday morning, April 20th at the age of 67 leaving a rich legacy of unique art.

Selected Publication examples:
2003, February 3, Miami Herald, “Young American”, by Elisa Turner
2000, Summer, Smithsonian American Art Museum, American Art Magazine, feature article: “Going Urban: American Folk Art and the Great Migration”, Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, chief curator of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Selected Exhibitions examples:
2003 Art Sante Fe, Sante Fe, NM
2002 Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, “Urban Outsider”
2001 Smithsonian Collection: Contemporary Folk Art, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
1999 Museum of American Folk Art, New York City, NY “Self Taught Artists of the 20th Century: an American Anthology”

Selected Public Collections examples:
Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL
New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA
Federal Reserve Board, Atlanta, GA
Sackner Archives, University of Oregon, Portland, OR
Springfield Museum of Art, Springfield, OH

Click on any image below to enlarge:

"White Angel"
18" x 31 1/2"

paint on found wood - pieces of scrap wood stapled to the work form the frame
- signature at top right -

"Man in Chains"
22 1/2" x 38"

paint on canvas stretched over

wood - framed by carpet remnants
SOLD

"Another Funeral In Overtown"
31" x 16"

paint on scrap of found sailcloth
small hole left center

SOLD

"Guitar Man"
20" x 39"

paint on canvas, artist applied over

cardboard

SOLD

"Dancing in the Street"
10" x 8"

paint on paper

(painting on reverse side also)

"Man and his Mule"
10 1/2” x 7”

paint on found notebook paper

"Untitled"
24" x 18"

paint on found linoleum

"Rejoicing"
12" x 8"

pen, crayon and paint on paper
SOLD

 

Reverse side of

"Rejoicing"

"Freedom"
17 1/2" x 18 1/2"

paint on wood with applied strips to form

artist's frame
SOLD

"Dancing Figures"
24" x 18"

paint on found

linoleum

"Reaching Up"
14” x 6 ¾”

paint on wood
SOLD

"Leavin the World Behind"
10" x 8"

pen, crayon and paint on paper

"Saints"
14” x 6 ¾”

paint on found wood drawer panel
SOLD

"Celebration"
18" x 15"

paint on paper and lightweight cardboard
SOLD

"Red Man - Black Man"
14” x 6 ¾”

paint on found wood drawer panel
SOLD

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