Finster, Howard – American Artist

Howard Finster (American, 1916-2001)

“The Lord spoke and he said: Give up the repair of lawn mowers; Give up the repair of bicycles; Give up sermons; Paint my pictures… And that’s what I done.” Howard Finster is among the most prolific and best-known outsider artists. He turned his house in Georgia into “Paradise Garden”, a venue to display his vision of preaching through art, with a constant display of work for sale to the collectors and dealers who were frequent visitors. Much of the building material in the garden was accumulated from Finster’s television and bicycle repair businesses and his twenty-one other trades. His art came to national attention in 1980 when LIFE magazine featured him among several leading folk artists. He played his banjo on Johnny Carson’s television show, designed an award-winning record album cover for the Talking Heads and executed paintings to hang in the Library of Congress. Finster produced more than 20,000 works of art using anything at hand – furniture, bottles, mirrors, plastic, plywood, canvas, and, as he would say, “the best bicycle paint available”. His style is instantly recognizable; the best is deserving of the status he earned by preaching and promoting to aspiring believers and collectors. Finster had his first solo show in a commercial gallery at Phyllis Kind Gallery in Chicago in 1979, and another at Ms. Kind’s New York gallery in 1981. His work is in the collections of national and international museums and he was chosen to represent the U.S. at the Venice Biennale in 1984.

Information Courtesy of Rago Arts, October, 2019.

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