biography of Bill TRAYLOR (c.1853-1949)

Birth place: Benton, AL

Death place: Montgomery, AL

Profession: Folk painter

Exhibited: R.H. Oosterom Gal., NYC, 1980 (solo); Corcoran Gal, 1982 ("Black Folk Art in America"); Warren Wilson College, NC, 1984 (solo); Randolph Street Library, Chcago, 1988 (solo); Hirschl & Adler Gal., NYC, 1986-97 (four solos)

Comments: Born a slave on the George Traylor plantation near Benton, AL, it was not until 1938 that he moved to Montgomery, AL. Here, he slept in the back room of a funeral parlor, and began drawing whimsical images of people, dogs, mules, horses, and birds on cardboard and found paper. His drawings were made between 1939-42, and his favorite color was a bright blue. In 1942, he moved to Detroit, living with one of his twenty children, but returned to Montgomery in 1946.

Sources: Cederholm, Afro-American Artists; exh. review, New York Times (Feb., 1997); auction cat., "Bill Traylor Drawings from the Collection of Joe and Pat Wilkinson" (Sotheby"s, NYC, Dec. 3, 1997)