Description

    FRANK JONES (1900-1969)
    Devil House, 1960s
    Graphite and colored pencil on paper
    12 x 18 inches (30.5 x 45.7 cm)
    Signed lower left

    Frank Jones was a black artist born around 1900. According to his mother, Frank was born with a veil over his left eye. According to widespread African American folk belief, people born with the "veil" or "caul" (part of the fetal membrane) over their eyes, have the power to see spirits and communicate with them. When Jones was about nine years old he began to see spirits, which he called "haints" or devils.

    Jones spent twenty years of his life in Texas prisons beginning in 1941. He was released on parole after nine years, but he was arrested again and sent to prison for life. Sometime between 1960 and 1964, Jones began to draw pictures on salvaged paper of the "haints" he saw. He called these drawings "devil houses." Using stubs of colored pencils thrown away by inmate bookkeepers, he drew horizontal and vertical lines, forming architectural structures viewed in cross section. The houses were divided into cell-like rooms. The "haint" figures were confined and found protection in these rooms. Sometimes the grinning haints had wings or fire spewing out of their mouths.

    Jones' art belongs to a category of outsider art called visionary art, which expresses visions only seen or dreamed by the artist. Jones' earliest drawings, as this one, are signed with his prison number because he did not know how to write his name.

    Provenance:
    Valley House Gallery (label attached verso)


    Condition Report*:

    Excellent condition. New frame in excellent condition.

    *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. 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.

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    Auction Dates
    December, 2007
    1st Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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