Artist: Purvis Young
Title: Men in Chains
Medium: Paint on cabinet sliding drawer paneling
Size: 23" x 25"
Inscription: Signed in front upper right
Condition: In the style of found art with an intentionally weathered appearance. Expected imperfections include heavy creasing, unfinished edges, and marks and staining on the back.
Documentation: Includes a Certificate of Authenticity from the Purvis Young Foundation
An important detail of Purivs Young's original "Men in Chains" painting is the visual storytelling of the figures - all the figures are depicted in different ways, with varying techniques of drawing and colors. This speaks to Purvis' talent for telling a story visually, based only on basic details - shadow, shape, color, technique. The idea of chains has an important symbolic and literal history in the black American experience, drawing on themes from Purvis Young's own incarceration to the history of the transatlantic slave trade.
The incorporation of found items in his art serves as a tangible tie between Young and his community. Using found objects from his neighborhood, such as cardboard, discarded political signs, used paper, doors, plywood scraps, metal sheets, carpet remnants, he transformed these surfaces into richly colored and highly expressionist paintings. "Men in Chains" is painted directly on cabinet sliding drawer paneling and has the type of intentional imperfections expected from found street art.
Purvis Young's original painting "Men in Chains" is signed by the artist and includes a gallery certificate of authenticity from the Purvis Young Foundation.
This piece is currently not framed. The photo showing the frame is a mockup of a frame and what it would look like framed. If you would like the piece framed we can work with our local framer at our discounted price to pick out the perfect frame for your home.
About Purvis Young
Self-taught artist from a poverty stricken neighborhood of Miami, Purvis Young transformed his fraught yet inspired life experience into a unique and compelling visual vocabulary. Through a range of powerful symbols, he articulated the struggles and myths of his heritage.
Drawing from a range of sources such as documentaries, art books, American history and spiritual folklore, Young crafted an immense visual language comprised of motifs such as white horses offering freedom, halos signifying angles, pregnant women with the hope of tomorrow, processions and incarceration, among others. Telling simple, yet powerful stories of everyday life, the artist expressed his community and ethnic background. Using found objects from his neighborhood, such as cardboard, discarded political signs, used paper, doors, plywood scraps, metal sheets, carpet remnants, he transformed these surfaces into richly colored and highly expressionist paintings. Although Young is often associated with Outsider Art, his style could best be described as “Magic realism.”
In 2016, his life and work were the subject of a feature documentary entitled Purvis of Overtown. He was a recipient of the Artists/Fellowship grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and was included into the Florida Artist Hall of Fame in 2018. His work is found in the collections of the American Folk Art Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the High Museum of Art, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others.
The subjects of Purvis Young celebrated and historicized the neighborhood where he had spent his entire life. Even though his works chronicled struggle, they always contained an underlining hope for a better future.
Purvis Young was born in 1943 in Overtown neighborhood of Miami, Florida and died in 2010 in Miami. In 2015, almost 400 pieces of Young’s art were donated by The Bass Museum of Art to the permanent collection in the Black Archives History and research Foundation of South Florida located in the heart of Purvis’ hometown.