I had never heard of Maurice Sullins before the Outsider Art Fair. To be clear, I first saw his work at the American Folk Art Museum the night before and was blown away by his use of acrylic paint, the technique and colors were wonderful. Stopped in my tracks, hidden in a hallway with other gorgeous works of arts that like the small intimate museum, this work was radiating.
When I can across more of his work at a booth at the Outsider Art Fair the next day I knew immediately that I had just stumbled upon a treasure trove of more work by the mysterious Maurice Sullins, or “Le Grand Le Sueur”.
Big thanks to Tiphanie Spencer of the Hana Pietri Gallery for the incredible history lesson on this magnificent artist from Illinois. The technique, inventiveness, and appreciation of art history in the dozen works viewed of over 1200 pieces of art created by “Le Grand Le Sueur”, as he would constantly be changing the way he signed his name, blew me away. What a tremendous treat to get to know this artist and experience these works of art in person.
“Maurice Sullins was an airplane waxer in Joliet, Illinois, who began to paint at sixty. Legend has it a dream about a water fountain in France first compelled him to paint. Entirely self-taught, armed with an insatiable appetite for reading and a vivid imagination, he became a true master of his craft with a total command of color, composition and technique. Over the course of a short career spanning fifteen years (1970-1985), Sullins produced some 1,200 paintings, most of which have never been seen before.”Courtesy hanapietri.com
To see photos of these works don’t do them justice. To see two or three of the 1200 doesn’t tell enough of a story. The evolution of the work from a self-taught artist is mind blowing. For someone who didn’t start making art until they were 60 (I can’t decide if that would be harder or easier) and had no motives or intentions to show their work, it’s quite frankly these stunning works of art even exist.
If you have never heard of Maurice Sullins don’t feel bad. If you have the chance to see works from Maurice Sullins in person. Please don’t let the opportunity pass.