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    Description

    Sister Gertrude Morgan (American, 1900-1980)
    Everlasting Gospel Ship
    Mixed media on paper
    14-3/4 x 16-1/4 inches (37.5 x 41.3 cm) (sight)

    PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF EDWARD HABIB AND ROD MCKUEN

    In celebration of Women's History Month

    Sister Gertrude Morgan was a self-taught African American artist, musician, poet and preacher. She was born Gertrude Williams in 1900 in Lafayette, Alabama, married young, and devoted the second half of her life to following God's will. In 1937, God "told her" to share the gospel with the world, so she became an itinerant street preacher, eventually settling in New Orleans -- what she called "the headquarters of sin" -- where she co-founded an orphanage and ministered to the poor. In 1956, God spoke to her again, this time commanding her to paint, and paint she did, despite her lack of training - brightly hued, childlike religious fantasias rendered in crayon, pencil, pen, and acrylics on canvas, cardboard, wood, toilet paper rolls, lamp shades, funeral parlor fans, jelly glasses, and detergent boxes. Morgan's exuberant visionary paintings, which she coupled with rambling Bible verses, were designed as both personal devotions and teaching tools.

    Around the same time that Morgan began painting as a means of evangelizing, God proclaimed that she was to serve as the Bride of Christ. Shedding her black robes, she donned a nurse's white uniform with cap and set up shop in the whitewashed Everlasting Gospel Mission in the French Quarter. Her colorful paintings, signed "Your Boss's Wife" and "Nurse to Doctor Jesus," enlivened the otherwise white environment. Sister Gertrude famously worked the crowds outside of the Mission, playing her tambourine, singing in a husky voice, and shouting sermons through her painted megaphone. Her lively personality and art attracted the local gallery owner Larry Borenstein, who during the 1960s catapulted her to national acclaim by organizing exhibitions of her paintings, producing record albums of her singing-preaching, and raising money to help her maintain the Mission. The American Folk Art Museum in New York held a major retrospective of her work in 2004, almost twenty-five years after her death in 1980.

    The two works by Sister Gertrude in the current auction were purchased directly from the artist by American poet, singer-songwriter, Rod McKuen.



    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2019
    8th-10th Friday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 340

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