Decades before anyone heard of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, there was Maud Lewis.
The folk paintings of mid-20th century Nova Scotians and today’s trendy digital assets have one big thing in common: it’s hard to explain why either is worth thousands of dollars. .
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Maud Lewis Retrospective
● Mayberry Fine Art, Unit 138-2025 Corydon Ave. (Tuxedo Park Mall)
● Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
● Until June 18
“Her paintings usually cost $4, $6 in the mid-1960s and when she died in 1970 she raised her price to $10,” says Bill Mayberry of Winnipeg, who bought and sold dozens of paintings by Lewis during his 50 years as an art dealer. “This partially disabled little lady, whom most of us would see in poverty, ill health and pain, left us with this incredible legacy of art that Canadians, no matter where they come from, find joy in. to be its guardian for a period of time.”
A retrospective of Lewis’s work, on display at the Mayberry Fine Art Gallery in the Tuxedo Park Mall, offers some clues to the appeal of Lewis’s paintings.
However, it was his humble life and unlikely mystique after his death from pneumonia in 1970 that created a fascination among his fans and collectors.
Lewis lived in Nova Scotia for all of his 67 years, almost all of them in poverty. For many of these years his paintings were his only income.
She was born with birth defects and would later develop rheumatoid arthritis. His seemingly simple style is a product of his adaptation to the stiffness of his joints; in her later years, she had to use the arm she was not painting with to stabilize the other.
“As his arthritis really set in, his ability to move his painting arm was very limited,” says Shaun Mayberry, director of Mayberry Fine Art Gallery, the family business.
The people who sold the painting say they got black truck almost 50 years ago in exchange for grilled cheese sandwiches from a British painter, John Kinnear, who bought it directly from Lewis.