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Folk Art Paintings

Folk art is a bridge between fine art and the decorative arts. Self-taught artists or tradespeople, outside the art history narrative, made and continue to make folk art, which can include craft items and architectural ornaments. American folk art is one of the most popular branches of this collecting area, especially in the United States.

Early American churches, barns, and houses were crowned by weathervanes, which now are highly collectible and valuable on the market. These weathervanes come in a variety of forms, from the angel Gabriel holding a trumpet to Uncle Sam to enormous green copper fish.

Folk art can also include quilts, such as those made by the enslaved African-American community of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Needlework samplers, often showing memorial scenes, are also highly collectible. Primarily the output of schoolgirls, samplers were made in England as well as in the American colonies and later the early United States.

Folk art from other continents such as Europe and Africa can run the gamut from arcane calendar sticks to wooden masks to carved walrus tusks (challenging to import because of ivory laws) that once belonged to merchant ship crewmen. Across the board, folk art is highly designed and requires considerable skill, regardless of the level of practical utility it provides.


Quick Facts

  • On December 4, 2012, Bonhams Los Angeles sold a figure of Hippocampus, originally part of an American circus carousel, for $50,000
  • On September 22, 2014, Christie’s New York sold a cast-iron and zinc weathervane decorated with a horse-drawn fire engine for $40,000
  • On January 22, 2013, Keno Auctions sold a set of Alice in Wonderland character figurines carved circa 1900 for $39,680

Recommended Items at Auction

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Laura Huyett Watercolor
Nov 03, 10:00 AM EDT
Laura Huyett Watercolor
by Barry S. Slosberg Inc
Est: $75- $150
$252 Bids
2 framed watercolor folk art paintings by Barbara Strawser
Nov 19, 4:00 PM EST
2 framed watercolor folk art paintings by Barbara Strawser
by Horst Auctioneers
Est: $0- $0
$452 Bids
THOMAS WARE, (American, 1803-1836), Four Portraits of the Marcy Family
Nov 07, 11:00 AM EDT
THOMAS WARE, (American, 1803-1836), Four Portraits of the Marcy Family
by Grogan & Company
Est: $15,000- $25,000
$7,5001 Bid
1952 Naïve Folk Art Oil Painting on board signed Animals in a Forest
Nov 07, 10:00 AM PDT
1952 Naïve Folk Art Oil Painting on board signed Animals in a Forest
by Global Auctions Company
Est: $600- $800
$5000 Bids
Red Grooms b.1937 Pop Art Figural Tango Silkscreen
Nov 17, 12:00 PM EST
Red Grooms b.1937 Pop Art Figural Tango Silkscreen
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$500 Bids
Purvis Young 1943-2010 Outsider Found Art Painting
Nov 17, 12:00 PM EST
Purvis Young 1943-2010 Outsider Found Art Painting
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$500 Bids
Purvis Young 1943-2010 Outsider Found Art Drawing
Nov 17, 12:00 PM EST
Purvis Young 1943-2010 Outsider Found Art Drawing
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$500 Bids
Purvis Young 1943-2010 Outsider Found Art Drawing
Nov 17, 12:00 PM EST
Purvis Young 1943-2010 Outsider Found Art Drawing
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$500 Bids
Gene Beecher 1909-2002 Outsider Folk Art Paintings
Nov 17, 12:00 PM EST
Gene Beecher 1909-2002 Outsider Folk Art Paintings
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$500 Bids
Nicholas Herrera b.1964 Outsider Folk Art Painting
Nov 17, 12:00 PM EST
Nicholas Herrera b.1964 Outsider Folk Art Painting
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$500 Bids
Nicholas Herrera b.1964 Outsider Folk Art Painting
Nov 17, 12:00 PM EST
Nicholas Herrera b.1964 Outsider Folk Art Painting
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$500 Bids
Nicholas Herrera b.1964 Outsider Folk Art Painting
Nov 17, 12:00 PM EST
Nicholas Herrera b.1964 Outsider Folk Art Painting
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$500 Bids
Kurt Zimmerman (1925-2017) Outsider Art Painting
Nov 17, 12:00 PM EST
Kurt Zimmerman (1925-2017) Outsider Art Painting
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$500 Bids
Jim Kopp b.1968 Modern Outsider Folk Art Painting
Nov 17, 12:00 PM EST
Jim Kopp b.1968 Modern Outsider Folk Art Painting
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Folk Art Paintings


Hill Auction Gallery

Hill Auction Gallery

Grogan & Company

Grogan & Company

Nadeau's Auction Gallery

Nadeau's Auction Gallery

Barry S. Slosberg Inc

Barry S. Slosberg Inc