Outsider Art in Seattle

Let’s take a closer look at a few places that promote Outsider Art in Seattle: Garde Rail Gallery 

Southern Folk Art

ANNIE TOLLIVER (Picture: Adam&Eve)
Annie Tolliver lives just around the corner from her father, Mose T’s, house in Montgomery. When I entered her house, I was met by a figure that was sitting in front of a screen door. The light from outside was creating a silhouette which makes it somewhat difficult to see who or what it was… The silhouette was Annie Tolliver, as she said “Hi, I’m Annie” when I asked. Please come in and take a look around my place.”

Annie Tolliver didn’t start painting until the mid-80’s. Her father was a painter as well and a he was unable to satisfy the growing demand from collectors and gallery owners, he taught his children the art of painting in exactly his style. His children painted for him, they produced the painting, after which Mose Tolliver (‘T’) would sign the paintings with his signature (“Mose T”), of course with a backward “s”. Though several collectors were shocked when they learned this and want to have their collections revaluated, most collectors and gallery owners didn’t really mind because all was produced within one family and all the work still falls into the category and definition of American Folk Art.

By the end of the 1980s, Annie Tolliver had started to paint in her own and one-of-a-kind style and that was when she started to sign her own paintings with “Annie T”. Sure, there are a few typical similarities between the works of “Mose T” and “Annie T, but Annie’s paintings and pictures depict more her childhood’s memories giving a fine idea of her growing up in a large family with her sisters and brothers. Annie’s paintings are utilizing quite some more detail than her father’s work and she additionally is using a more vibrant color pattern than her father. It hasn’t been so long yet that Annie’s paintings are recognized and appreciated by art collectors and gallery owners. dealers alike. Annie is producing her work at a quite astonishing rate, just like so many southern Folk Artists do, and she is selling her pieces from galleries and her home in the southern portions of the US, in New York, and now also in Seattle. See also this Seattle Art Museum article.

Jack Savitsky

Now Jack Savitsky is another example of the best and refined self-taught painters in America. John (“Jack”) Savitsky (born in 1910) is a northeastern Pennsylvania native and after he completed the sixth grade, he set out to work in Pennsylvania’s mines. After he worked in the dirty mines for an astonishing 35 years and he started to suffer from black lung disease, Jack retired from mining in 1960 and it wasn’t until then that he started painting and drawing in earnest.

Jack Savitsky’s work mainly depicts the coal miners’ lives and times, it is about their families and life in Pennsylvania’s rural villages. Jack’s paintings and drawings present mainly views of the people he knew well and their surroundings. He portrayed with charm and (sometimes) humor the things that were close to his mind, heart, and soul.

Jack “Coal Miner” Savits passed away in 1991 but his legacy lingers on. His paintings and drawings are on display in several well-respected collections and important museums across the nation. His work can be admired at the New York’s Museum of American Folk Art, the Smithsonian, the Milwaukee Museum, the Williamsburg Abby Aldridge Rockefeller Collection, and now also in Seattle, at the Garde Rail Gallery. Check out also these MUST-SEE Seattle Art Shows.