COLLECTORS HAVE TAKEN NOTICE OF EAST TEXAS FOLK ARTIST VELOX WARD
Velox Ward has been called Texas’ answer to Grandma Moses.
TEXAS ART SIGNATURE® AUCTION 5405
May 18, 2019
Born in Franklin County in East Texas, Ward was a self-taught “memory painter” – an artist who paints subjects from personal memories of bygone times. He began painting in 1960 when he was nearly 60 years old. Within a few years, he was viewed as a major creative contributor to the genre of folk art, or “primitivism.”
“His work focused on his boyhood life in rural Texas,” says Atlee Phillips, director of Texas Art at Heritage Auctions. “Little boys feeding chickens, people doing their laundry by the river, a girl playing with a hoop, a dog sleeping under the house. Sometime he just painted portraits of everyday people.”
Collectors have taken notice of the artist. His oil on panel titled Papa’s Suit and Boots, showing a family of 14 posing outside their home, in November 2018 sold for $21,250 – a world auction record for the artist. A similar painting, titled Proud Stetson Owner, is expected to realize at least $5,000 at Heritage’s May Texas art auction.
“It has been an honor to handle the estate of Velox Ward, especially works like Proud Stetson Owner, that were part of important museum and gallery exhibitions,” Phillips says. “These excellent works evoke a sense of nostalgia and timelessness otherwise only found in the best American folk artists.”
Ward’s work is part of the permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum and the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth.
This article appears in the Spring/Summer 2019 edition of The Intelligent Collector magazine. Click here to subscribe to the print edition.