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Self-Taught Artists of the 20th Century: An American Anthology

March 10–May 17, 1998

Premiering at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, this major traveling exhibition, organized by the Museum of American Folk Art, New York, examines a powerful range of works by 31 American self-taught artists who span the entire twentieth century, from Horace Pippin, Grandma Moses, and Morris Hirshfield to Howard Finster, Purvis Young, and Thornton Dial. Co-curators Elsa Longhauser and Harald Szeemann have selected artists who have developed individual practices and styles that enable them to transform their experiences, ideas, memories, visions, fantasies, and obsessions into tangible form. The exhibition includes painting, sculpture, drawings and installations that reveal expressive power, graphic presence, and formal vigor within an aesthetic and cultural context.

In conjunction with Self-Taught Artists of the 20th Century: An American Anthology, the Museum is presenting a companion installation of works by self-taught artists drawn primarily from local private collections (American Wing, Galleries 108 and 119).


Self-Taught Artists of the 20th Century: An American Anthology (published by Chronicle Books), released March 10, 1998


  • Philadelphia Museum of Art • March 10-May 17, 1998
  • High Museum of Art, Atlanta • July 14-September 20, 1998
  • Amon Carter Museum and the Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth • October 31, 1998-January 24, 1999
  • Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester • February 20-April 18, 1999
  • Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University • May 15-August 8, 1999

Main Building


This exhibition has been organized by the Museum of American Folk Art, New York. It is presented with the generous support of the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund and The Henry Luce Foundation, Inc. Additional support for the catalogue was provided by the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation and Jill and Sheldon M. Bonovitz. In Philadelphia, the exhibition is supported in part by The Pew Charitable Trusts and Sun Company, Inc.


Ann Temkin • The Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Twentieth-Century Art
Jack L. Lindsey • Curator of American Decorative Arts
Elsa Longhauser • Director of the Paley/Levy Galleries at Moore College of Art and Design
Harald Szeemann • Independent Curator, Kunsthaus Zurich

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