From April 11, 2011 to May 6, 2011
The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft (KMAC) is giving one lucky individual the opportunity to win a piece of Kentucky’s folk art history. Folk art lovers can purchase a chance to win one of Marvin Finn’s signature large roosters for $20 per ticket. The piece is valued at $2,500 and measures 36” tall, 25” side to side, and 24” front to back. A maximum of 500 tickets will be sold, and the winner will be drawn at KMAC’s Annual Oaks Brunch fundraiser, held at The Brown Hotel, on Friday, May 6th, 2011. Tickets can be purchased online at www.kentuckyarts.org.
Finn was best known for his colorful, fun and imaginative roosters. The systematic use of bold stripes, dots and dashes painted on scrap wood against a solid background in unconventional color combinations is his signature style. Some scholars have linked his worked to the West African art of the Yoruba tradition. Marvin Finn said, “I just do what my mind tells me to do. Maybe the good Lord plants these things in my mind. When I leave here and meet the good Lord, I ain’t never going to quit making toys.”
About Marvin Finn:
Born in 1913 near Clio, Alabama, Finn learned to wield a pocketknife on scrap wood and tin cans to make the toys he otherwise would not have had. With one month’s formal schooling, he spent his youth at farm labor, leaving the cotton fields in 1940 to follow a brother to Kentucky. Finn settled in Louisville, married Helen Breckinridge and raised five children, supported by his odd jobs that ranged from loading barges to pumping gas.
All the time he carved toys — toys for his kids, toys to give away, toys to brighten the maker’s own heart.
After his wife died in 1966, Finn quit his odd jobs and began making toys full time. But until 1972, his art was little-known. After a friend persuaded Finn to make his first public display at the Kentuckiana Hobby and Gift Show, Finn began selling his toys for modest sums, $10 or $15 each. By 1976, he had cleared out his four-room apartment, selling his entire inventory for $450 to a private collector.
By the time of his passing in 2007, Finn garnered so many admirers that his work is an icon of savvy collecting and his gaily patterned roosters are symbolic for the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.
715 W. Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202