Well Hung | Horace Pippin

Horace Pippin taught himself to paint and produced about 140 deceptively simple works depicting the injustice of slavery, his time as a soldier in the trenches and scenes from nature and the Bible.  I just love them all.

(Above: Major General Smedley D. Butler, 1937)

The Getaway Fox, 1939

Portrait of Christian Brinton, 1940

Maple Sugar Season, 1941

The Trial of John Brown, 1942

The Artist's Wife, 1936

This reminds me of a trip we took to the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art with our grandpa as little kids.  Our school had just done massive field trips there - my third grade class looked at the Chinese collections, while Porter's pre-K class explored the exhibits on the history of American homes.  After I'd spent about an hour showing off my knowledge of chops and scrolls, Porter wanted to show grandpa what she'd learned.  We started at the log cabin.  "This is where the Indians lived," she said confidently and then walked grandpa to the next room that looked like it could've been ripped from Mt. Vernon.  She paused, less sure of herself, but then proudly declared, "And this is where the rich Indians live!"

(Above: Quaker Mother and Child, 1944)

Holy Mountain III, 1945

(Images courtesy the Museum Syndicate)

The Hirshorn Museum in D.C. has many of his paintings in its collection.


  1. bluv3188 says:

    I had no idea you ladies were from the KC area! I think that makes me love your blog even more!

  2. Thats so cute!
    Gotta luv school field trips.So great for kiddos and adults alike.


  3. ASL says:

    reminds me of maira kalman
    love it

  4. Thank you for this introduction. My favorite art is forward thinking art of the past that still fits in today.

  5. Your remark that Pippin's work is "deceptively simple" is my opinion also. I think some of his paintings qualify as art on a remarkably sophisticated level, and demonstrate that a lot can be accomplished with relatively few technical skills. Although he is well known, he still strikes me as under recognized in the scheme of American culture. No offense intended to your other reader, but I think it's a shame that his work is sometimes characterized as "cute".

  6. Unknown says:

    They remind me very much of That wonderful childrens book 'The Ox Cart Man' which I am sure would be right up your street if you haven't already heard of it!