by Ann Oppenhimer
As part of the Folk Art Society’s annual conference activities, one or several works of art are presented to a museum, thus honoring an artist and a museum. These works have been given in memory of Herbert Waide Hemphill Jr. since his death in 1998, and the gifts are partially funded by proceeds from the society’s annual benefit auction.
This year, at the Washington, D.C., symposium, held at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) on September 26, four works of art were presented to three museums.
Devil Face Jug, 2008, by potter Albert Hodge, from Vale, N.C., was accepted during the program by the SAAM’s Director, Elizabeth Broun. After viewing photographs of Hodge’s jug and upon the recommendation of curator Virginia Mecklenburg, the accession committee accepted the ceramic piece into the collection. The Smithsonian owns face jugs by the late potters, Lanier Meaders and Burlon Craig, but none is as contemporary as Hodge’s, jug.
Two works were presented to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore: a gouache by Malcah Zeldis of New York City, Martin Luther King Meets Gandhi, 2003, and a color-pencil drawing by Zeldis’ son, David Zeldis, Lovers in the Bathtub, 1986. Both were enthusiastically accepted by Director Rebecca Hoffberger. The gift of David Zeldis’ drawing was made possible in part by Frank Miele’s Gallery of Contemporary American Art in New York.
Of her gouache, Malcah Zeldis said, “This painting was part of the series I did for my children’s book about Martin Luther King, but since Martin never really met Gandhi, the publisher was afraid the children would get the facts confused, and we had to leave it out. However, there was much more feeling and emotion in this painting than in many of the others.” Zeldis also said that her son would spend months on one of his small drawings, such as Lovers in the Bathtub, which, although small, is extremely detailed.
Tom Scanlin, of Dahlonega, Ga., donated a serigraph reproduction of one of Howard Finster’s paintings, Consider the Ant, #17,441, 1991, to Longwood University in honor of William and Ann Oppenhimer. This work was accepted by the Director of the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, Johnson Bowles.