Skip to content

Helen La France

October 17, 2010

Family by Herbert Freeman

Born in 1919 in Graves County in western Kentucky Helen La France has been painting since she was a young child.  Her mother used to make paint for her using laundry bluing and different plant materials such as dandelion, walnut bark, and berries.  Helen never attended high school and has had no formal art training.

The Mexican School of Down Art

September 16, 2010

Ronnee by Herbert Freeman

The Mexico School of Down Art which began as a recreational activity for the clients of the John Langdon Down Foundation has blossomed into its flagship program.  The school offers formal training in the fine arts for students with Down syndrome of all ages and economic backgrounds.  The mission of the school is to “promote social integration, reaffirm identity, and elevate the self-esteem of people with Down syndrome.”

Art exhibits featuring the work of the school’s students have been mounted from Asia to Europe and the Americas.

Jesse Montes

September 15, 2010

Leona by Herbert Freeman

Jesse Montes took up art in 1990 in order distract himself from worrying about two of his children who were called to duty for the first Gulf War.  He began by creating frames for photographs of his family from corrugated cardboard that he salvaged from his work as a school custodian.  Then he was inspired to create pictures to put inside the frames made from the same material and coloring them with acrylic paint.  By cutting the cardboard at different angles and then gluing the pieces together according to design Mr. Montes can achieve a variety of textures and subtle color variations.

Mr. Montes’ artwork has been purchased by private collectors and museums around the world.

Augustin Lesage

September 14, 2010

Little Debbie by Herbert Freeman

Augustin Lesage (1876-1954) was from Auchel in France where he worked as a coal miner beginning at age 14.  At the age of 35 he heard a voice while in the mines telling him that he was to be a painter.  A year later Lesage becomes involved with a circle of friends who are exploring the claims of spiritualism, a religious movement that had begun in the United States and was winning supporters in Europe.  Through automatic handwriting Lesage receives a message from the spirits that the voice he heard in the mine was real and that he must paint.

He buys paint and brushes and orders what he believes to be a small canvas.  What arrives is a canvas that is three meters long.  The spirits tell him that he must not cut the canvas but paint the whole thing.  Over the next two years Lesage works on the painting after returning from long hours working in the coal mine.

Lesage begins to practice healing with the help of the spirits and is prosecuted by the authorities for practicing medicine illegally but is acquitted.  The following year he is deployed as a soldier in WW I.  After the war Lesage returns to work in the mines and paints everyday after work.  He develops a style of bilateral symmetry where the left side of the painting mirrors the right side.  He claims that his painting is directed by the spirits and that he acts as a medium for their expression.

In 1923 Jean Meyer the publisher of the spiritualist journal La Revue Spirite becomes Lesage’s patron and he is able to quit working in the coal mine and devote himself to his painting.  Lesage completed over 800 works in his career.

The First Painting

9/11 Weirdness

September 12, 2010

Bebe by Herbert Freeman

Read this Rude Pundit post.


September 11, 2010

Decision by Herbert Freeman

Photographed by Frank Culbertson, commander of the International Space Station.

Click on image to enlarge.

Brenda Davis

September 8, 2010

Contessa by Herbert Freeman

I found out about Brenda Davis today in an e-mail from a collector.  This person was enthusiastic about Brenda and was certain that she is someone to watch.  Ms. Davis lives in a double-wide mobile home in Autauga County, Alabama in which she has painted the walls with her visionary imagery.  “I paints what I dreams,” she says. “I can’t help it. God knows I can’t read or write, so he tells me the stories.”

Brenda is represented by Marcia Weber and the images in this post come from her gallery site.

Alexander Pavlovich Lobanov

September 7, 2010

Rebecca by Herbert Freeman

The facts that I can find about Lobanov’s life are spare and conflicting, but here are the essentials that the various accounts agree on.   Alexander Pavlovich Lobanov (1924-2003) was born in Molonga, Russia –  a town which no longer exists.  When Lobanov was a young child he contracted meningitis and as a result lost his hearing and became mute.  Lobanov did have access to specialized schooling but soon lost that either because of the advent of World War II, or the fact the the family was forced to leave their hometown in 1939 to make way for the construction of the Rybinsk Reservoir.  Lobanov’s father died in 1945.  Lobanov behavior was disruptive and aggressive and his family had him admitted to a mental asylum.  He remained institutionalized for the rest of his life.

While in his 30’s Lobanov began to try his hand at art.  His pictures are are filled with guns, hunting scenes and soviet iconography.  In the 1970’s he became passionate about photography.  He would stage self-portraits of himself holding guns which he would fashion from card stock paper.

There is a video about Lobanov at the bottom of this post.   The narration is in French but can be enjoyed by non-French speakers as a slide show of Lobanov’s work.

Art Therapy

September 4, 2010

Vision by Herbert Freeman

Museo del Juguete Antiguo Mexico

September 3, 2010

Man, Woman and Child by Herbert Freeman

Museum Website