Encyclopedia of American Folk Art

By Gerard C.Wertkin; Lee Kogan | Go to book overview

FINCH, ARUBA (RUBY) BROWNELL DEVOL(1804-1866)

fits modern society's conceptions of a folk artist more neatly than many nineteenth-century amateurs so labeled. The painter was born, raised, and buried in the same small community; not even marriage took her more than ten miles from her childhood home. Although aware of period styles and conventions, she developed personal solutions to artistic problems and showed little reliance on academic sources. These facts and the number of works executed for friends and neighbors suggest that Finch enjoyed a longstanding closely-knit support system, one that not only met her social needs but also encouraged her interest in artistic endeavors.

The artist was born in Westport, Massachusetts on November 20, 1804, the second of seven children of Benjamin Devol Jr. and Elizabeth Rounds. Nothing is known of her schooling. An 1831 family register, done for neighbor Silas Kirby, establishes that Finch was engaged in artwork prior to her marriage. On November 8, 1832, she married William T. Finch of nearby New Bedford.

Half- and full-length portraits (two of the former being memorials) as well as two serial illustrations of the story of the Prodigal Son constitute the remainder of Finch's known body of work in watercolor. Evidence of her creativity and willingness to experiment can be found in the original verses that she added to some likenesses. Differences between her two depictions of the Prodigal Son reflect her efforts to improve the clarity and cohesiveness of the overall composition and its correlation between text and imagery. Despite the naïveté of their execution, her profile portraits are distinguished by individualistic details, such as Abner Davis's patterned stockings, dotted waistcoat, and even small hairs on the back of his hand. Finally, although pictorial motifs sometimes recur in Finch's works, she avoided slavish repetition. For instance, spread eagles appear on three of her pieces, yet each is distinctly posed. Decorative qualities were important to Finch. Even her plainest portraits, such as her full-length likenesses of Abner and Betsy Allen Davis, incorporate the unusual compositional device of plinths, which are set beneath the figures and artfully twined with vines.

Ruby and William T. Finch had one daughter, Judith, who married Otis Pierce, a mason. When Finch died of a tumor on July 7, 1866, in New Bedford, she had been a widow for an undetermined length of time and appears to have been living with her elderly widowed mother.

See also Painting, American Folk.


BIBLIOGRAPHY
Rumford, Beatrix T., ed. American Folk Portraits: Paintings and Drawings from the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center. Boston, 1981.
--. American Folk Paintings: Paintings and Drawings Other Than Portraits from the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center. Boston, 1988.
Walters, Donald R. "Out of Anonymity: Ruby Devol Finch (1804-1866)." Maine Antique Digest (June 1978): 1C-4C.

BARBARA R.LUCK


FINSTER, REVEREND HOWARD (1915-2001)

was born on a small farm in northeast Alabama, and as an adult lived in adjoining northwest Georgia. He left school after finishing the sixth grade, and at age sixteen began a long career as a traveling Baptist preacher. In the late 1940s, he created an environment of miniature buildings and religious monuments, as well as the beginnings of a collection he called Inventions of Mankind, in the yard of his house in Trion, Georgia. In 1961, when he moved with his family to nearby Pennville, he brought some of those things with him, and they formed the nucleus of an art environment he initially called Plant Farm Museum. He commenced work on the latter project almost immediately, in response to a vision in which he claimed that a fifteen-foot-tall man admonished him to "get on the altar."

After retiring from formal church ministry, in 1965, Finster supported his family by repairing bicycles and lawn mowers, and devoted any spare time to his ambitious backyard project. He had spent fifteen years developing his Paradise Garden, as it became known, by the time it began to attract widespread attention. Then, in 1976, another vision, in the form of a tiny human face that spoke to him from a paint-smudge on his fingertip, prompted him to start painting "sacred art."

Finster consistently tended to fill any available space in his paintings, surrounding the highly varied imagery with handwritten Bible quotes, opinionated messages, and startling accounts of visions in which he claimed to travel to "other worlds beyond the light of the sun." These early "sermons in paint," as he called them, were fairly small works in enamel on plywood, sheet metal, or Masonite. Later, he began to make sculpture and to experiment with other materials, including mirror glass, Plexiglas beads, and wire. Invariably urgent in tone and intensely overwrought, his works deal with themes of history, biography, autobiography, divine power, worldly calamity, sin, salvation, steadfast faith, heavenly reward, and extra-terrestrial life. By the time he died of heart failure, he

-166-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Encyclopedia of American Folk Art
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Entries vii
  • Introduction xxvii
  • A 1
  • B 35
  • Bibliography 75
  • C 79
  • Bibliography 107
  • Bibliography 111
  • D 113
  • Bibliography 144
  • E 145
  • Bibliography 153
  • F 161
  • Bibliography 166
  • Bibliography 171
  • G 189
  • Bibliography 203
  • Bibliography 210
  • H 217
  • Bibliography 225
  • Bibliography 235
  • I 247
  • Bibliography 249
  • J 251
  • K 269
  • Bibliography 273
  • L 279
  • M 293
  • Bibliography 309
  • Bibliography 311
  • N 337
  • O 349
  • P 355
  • Bibliography 388
  • Q 411
  • R 421
  • Bibliography 433
  • S 447
  • Bibliography 450
  • Bibliography 472
  • Bibliography 484
  • Bibliography 490
  • Bibliography 494
  • Bibliography 496
  • T 509
  • U 527
  • V 529
  • W 539
  • Bibliography 540
  • Bibliography 546
  • Bibliography 556
  • Y 561
  • Index 569
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 612

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.