Alabama folk artist Mose Tolliver featured in exhibition at AU’s Jule Collins Smith Museum

Self-Portrait with Red Jacket,   not dated. Latex paint on plywood,   Collection of Micki Beth Stiller

AUBURN – “Pure Paint: A Grand Retrospective of Montgomery’s Mose T” is on exhibition at Auburn University’s Jule Collins Smith Museum through March 25. The exhibition features the paintings and assemblages of the late folk artist and Alabama native Mose Tolliver.

Lee Kogan, director of the Museum of American Folk Art’s Folk Art Institute and an authority on 20th century self-taught artists, will present a lecture on Tolliver on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 4 p.m. in the museum auditorium.

Tolliver’s paintings reflect his exploration of birds, animals, trees, flowers and watermelons as well as buses and other modes of transportation and offer a captivating and delightful world that enchants his audiences. His sense of history and awareness of popular culture as well as his own personal mythologies are evident in these animated and vivid representations.

Tolliver was born into a sharecropper’s family near Montgomery on July 4, 1924. In the 1960’s a work-related injury resulted in a long convalescence during which he was encouraged to take up painting. By the 1970’s Mose T, as he became known, had become an established artist. In 1981 he was honored with solo exhibitions at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art and in 1982 was included in the prestigious “Black Folk Art in America, 1930-1980” exhibit at the Corcoran Museum in Washington, D.C. Tolliver died in 2006 at the age of 83.

Works for this exhibition were selected from three collections of the artist’s work. The owners of these collections not only knew Tolliver but are committed to sharing the artist’s unique sensibility with an ever-wider audience.

The JCS Museum is indebted to Judge and Mrs. Mark Kennedy, John Goodwin Gallion and Micki Beth Stiller who also served as advisor during the course of planning this show.

For more information about the Jule Collins Smith Museum, go to .

Contact: Marilyn Laufer, (334) 844-1484 (, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (