BMS Art Sells Masterworks to Smithsonian

Posted June 1, 2016

BMS Art is proud to announce the sale and gift of masterpieces by Bill Traylor to the Smithsonian American Art Museum from the Collection of Judy Saslow.

Each represents key themes and characters that recur in Traylor’s work, and doubles the museum’s holdings by the self-taught American artist. This important acquisition includes the early “Untitled (Yellow and Blue House with Figures and Dog)” and “Untitled (Dog Fight with Writing)” from about 1939–40 and Traylor’s largest extant painting, “Untitled (Radio)” from about 1942. The group is valued at more than $1million and was negotiated by Brian Shannon, President of BMS Art.


Judy Salsow Collection

The Judy Salsow Collection, known for its concentration on Outsider and Contemporary art, contains some of the most significant and varied works by Bill Traylor.

One of the largest collections of the artist’s work in private hands, Judy developed a deep appreciation and keen eye some 35 years ago when his market was in its infancy. An ardent supporter of Traylor’s work and legacy, Judy has loaned generously to exhibitions in the US and abroad, opened her collection to research, and shared works through publications.

Smithsonian Exhibition

Today, Bill Traylor is celebrated as one of America’s most important artists, and is widely collected by both Modern and Outsider art enthusiasts. In 2018, the Smithsonian American Art Museum will present the most comprehensive exhibition to date, “Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor,” curated by Leslie Umberger, the museum’s curator of folk and self-taught art.


Bill Traylor

Traylor (born Benton, Ala. 1853–54; died Montgomery, Ala. 1949) was born on a cotton plantation where he worked as a sharecropper after Emancipation. Around 1930, Traylor moved to segregated Montgomery, where he lived the rest of his life, homeless and increasingly disabled. In his last decade, he began to draw for the first time. He left behind more than 1,000 drawings and paintings on discarded cardboard boxes and advertising cards. His imagery embodies the crossroads of multiple worlds: black and white, rural and urban, old and new.

See the original museum press release HERE

Special thanks and appreciation for their efforts is due Leslie Umberger, curator at the Smithsonian, and her colleagues; Judy Saslow; Richard Mesirow and Richard Korengold of Mesirow Financial; the Law Offices of Marc J. Leaf, PC; and Paul K. Erikson, CPA.

All images are courtesy of Judy Saslow.