William Dawson, born Huntsville, AL 1901-died Chicago, IL 1990 Search this
acrylic and felt-tipped pen and ink on carved wood
13 x 3 1/8 in. (33.0 x 7.8 cm)
Luce Center Label:
William Dawson carved stacks of faces from old table and chair legs before he even knew what a totem pole was. These pieces show his distinctive carved faces, with wide, staring eyes painted a stark white against different colored backgrounds. He made totems in a variety of heights depending on the piece of wood, and they can reach up to four feet.
Luce Object Quote:
“I had never seen a totem. I was in the park one day. I was carving and a fellow came up and said, ‘Oh, you make totems.’ But I didn’t know what they were. My wife looked it up in a book in the library, and sure enough, I was making totems.” The artist, quoted in Folk Art Messenger, Winter 1990