Bill Traylor’s Two Women in Orange, Two Men in Blue is valued at $50,000-80,000 ahead of a September 20 auction at Christie’s New York.
It’s one of a number of pieces of outsider art to feature in the Americana sale.
Traylor was born into slavery in the antebellum south in 1853.
Bill Traylor painted on bits of cardboard and wood
With the end of the Confederacy in 1865, he continued to work as a sharecropper on the same plantation where he’d toiled as a slave.
There he stayed for most of his life until 1928, when he moved to Montgomery, Alabama at the age of 75. He soon found himself homeless and began painting to pass the time.
In the late 1930s, his work gained the attention of a white artist named Charles Shannon, who struck up a friendship with Traylor and helped him out with paints and brushes.
Shannon was impressed by his work, which chimed with the stripped back aesthetic of modernism. In 1940, he gave Traylor a show at the gallery he ran in Montgomery.
Since then, Traylor’s work has been shown at museums and galleries across the country – including the Smithsonian.
The market for his work really started to pick up in the early-2000s, when his Man with a Yoke sold for a record $203,750.
Please sign up to our free newsletter to receive exciting news about art and photography auctions.