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The Preacher


The Preacher, 1931-1939, William Edmondson, stone, 18 inches high, WPA, 1993.9.1

According to the acclaimed folk artist, in 1932 God appeared and told Edmondson  “to pick up my tools and start to work on a tombstone.” Edmondson, who lived and worked around Nashville, Tennessee, began to carve burial art. Later, he also carved stone sculptures of preachers, women, angels, doves, turtles, and other animals. In addition to becoming a vital figure in the Nashville art scene, Edmondson was an important international artist. In 1937, he became the first African American artist to be featured in a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


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