Creator Record

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Name Edmondson, William
Other names William J. Edmondson
Life Dates 1874-1951
Born: Davidson County, Tennessee
Died: Nashville, Tennessee
Nationality American
Occupation sculptor
folk artist
Notes African American artist William Edmondson was one of the most important self taught sculptors of the 20th century. Edmondson was a son of former slaves who developed his skills as a sculptor in the 1930s by carving tombstones, then later free-standing figurative sculptures with both religious and secular subjects. In 1937, he became the first African-American to have a solo exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art. Edmondson's work was also supported by the Works Progress Administration in 1939 and in 1941.
Role Artist

Associated Records

Image of Art-3D Collection - 1993.9.1

Art-3D Collection - 1993.9.1

"Preacher," 1931-1939, carved limestone, by William Edmondson Label from The Collector's Eye exhibition (2014): According to acclaimed folk artist William Edmondson, in 1932 God appeared at his bed and told him “to pick up my tools and start to work on a tombstone.” Edmondson, who lived and worked around Nashville, Tennessee, began to carve burial art. Later, he also carved stone sculptures of preachers, women, angels, doves, turtles, and other animals. In addition to becoming a vital figure in the Nashville art scene, Edmondson was an important international artist. In 1937, he became the first African American artist to be featured in a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in New