Lot 709
  • 709

Bill Traylor (1852/56-1949)

15,000 - 20,000 USD
56,250 USD
bidding is closed


  • Bill Traylor (1852/56-1949)
  • Poster paint and pencil on paperboard
Inscribed verso, pencil (in Charles Shannon's hand): Jan 40/Ross-The Undertaker/When he comes in he always / looks around... of down bobyes is empty.


Charles and Eugenia Shannon, Montgomery, Alabama
Sotheby's New York, January 28-31, 1993, lot 1016


"Self-Taught Artists of the Twentieth Century: An American Anthology," Philadelphia Museum of Art in association with the American Folk Art Museum, 1998
"American Radiance: Highlights of the Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum," de Menil Gallery at Groton School, Groton, Massachusetts, October 15 - December 15, 2002


American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum, p. 278, fig. 239

Catalogue Note

Ross the Undertaker depicts David Callaway Ross, one of the owners of Ross-Clayton Funeral Home, where Traylor sometimes slept in a back room. The subject is identified in an inscription on the back by Charles Shannon, who sometimes recorded Traylor's pithy comments on the reverse of his drawings. (Also on the back of the drawing is an unfinished pencil sketch of a two-chimney house.) Ross is austere in his black suit, with his arms thrust stiffly down and away from his body and clasping a narrow, elongated instrument bag, but this somberness is relieved somewhat by the red and black dots and strokes on his detachable shirtfront. -L.K.