Friday, March 27, 2015

Mississippi Folk Art and Antique Museum

As I mentioned in previous postings, I do a lot of research when we go on road trips.  I don’t miss too many attractions that interest us but every once in a while, we stumble across an unexpected surprise…


Yes…this is the former Louisville and Nashville railroad depot in Bay St. Louis Mississippi.  And, as I mentioned in a previous posting, this facility has been totally refurbished following the damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina.  We were surprised to find an exhibit of Mardi Gras costumes on the first floor…but I previously showed photos of those as well. 

What I didn’t discover in my trip research, or cover in my previous posting, was the nifty little Folk Art and Antique museum on the second floor!


The full name of this museum is the Alice Moseley Folk Art and Antique Museum… The reason for this museum being named after Alice Moseley will soon become apparent. 

Part of the museum is home to Alice Moseley’s son’s collection of majolica, art pottery, art glass and other collectible American ephemera.  If I were wealthy enough, I could really go nuts collecting many of the same objects plus early American earthenware, paintings and prints…


This display case is loaded with some very nice pieces of majolica…including a couple of items that are fairly rare. 

Victorian majolica is earthenware pottery made in 19th century Britain, Europe and America with molded surfaces and colorful clear lead glazes.  An earlier related version is called ‘Maiolica’.  Maiolica is Italian tin-glazed pottery dating from the Renaissance.  It’s decorated in bright colors on a white background and the motifs or decorations frequently depicted historical and legendary scenes.


The museum occupies about two thirds of the second floor of the old depot.  It just opened in 2013, having moved from Alice Moseley’s “Blue House” in Bay St. Louis.  Her house has since been converted into a vacation rental.
   
Note the big wooden ‘bowl’ on the table.  It was carved from one piece of wood and it’s quite large.  We own a large round solid wooden bowl that was made sometime in the 1800’s and we still marvel at the patience and skill that it took to make it…


This display case contains art glass and pottery vases produced by such American firms as Roseville, Weber, Weller and McCoy.  I especially like that Weller Dresden vase in the middle of the second shelf.

Weller Pottery was founded in 1872 in Fultonham Ohio and the company moved to Zanesville Ohio in 1893.  A second line of pottery was Weller-Louwelsa, which is also represented in this display case.  Weller remained in business until 1948.  Interestingly, both McCoy and Roseville Pottery were founded in Roseville Ohio but along with Weller, both of these companies also ended up being headquartered in Zanesville…


This is another display case full of beautiful majolica pottery.  How popular is majolica among collectors?  At the time I wrote this posting there were 7,023 majolica items listed for sale on EBay!  While there were plenty of more reasonably priced items, including a few that appear questionable, there were at least 13 pieces being offered that were priced at $5,000.00 or more…



It’s time to explain why this facility is called the Alice Moseley Folk Art and Antique Museum… This is a photo of Alice Moseley and Herman, her rescue beagle.  It was on postcards that are available at the museum.  Alice was born in 1909 and she passed away in 2004 at the age of 95.  She was what one might call, a ‘late bloomer’.

Miss Alice, as she is referred to, was a teacher.  In the late 1960s her mother came to live with the family.  Miss Alice continued to teach while caring for her Alzheimer-afflicted mother at night.  To alleviate the depression and stress, Alice began painting.  After her mother died, at her son’s urging, Miss Alice began taking her paintings to art shows and flea markets.


In 1970, her son rented her a stall and helped her hang the first 30 paintings that she’d painted.  He went off for a little antiquing and when he returned an hour later, the stall was empty.  Miss Alice was holding a check for $1,350 and exclaimed that ‘he bought them all!’  And so, at the age of 61 her second career was launched…

The painting pictured above is entitled “Memories of Fredonia Church”.


This painting is titled “Town House on the Yocana”. 

In addition to the paintings, Miss Alice was featured in a video that was released in 2004.  It was entitled “Hello, I’m Alice Moseley”.  She had just celebrated her 94th birthday.  The video was produced to document and teach about the heritage of folk art and story-telling.  It was made available to schools and libraries as a tool for learning.  To find out about this video, just go to www.DestinationVideos.org.


Cotton is featured in several of Miss Alice’s works…

I don’t know the titles of many of these paintings but almost all of Miss Alice’s works are about everyday life and living in Mississippi…


This is Miss Alice’s tribute to Elvis Presley… It’s titled, “Elvis-From a Shotgun to a Mansion”.

Mose, Alice’s son retired and they moved into a former tenant shack that once had been at Graceland.  Vernon Presley, who was a neighbor back in Memphis, gave it to Mose, who disassembled it log by log, and reassembled it at Plum Point Mississippi.  Miss Alice enjoyed telling her interviewers how she knew Elvis Presley.  One of her favorite conversations with him was when Elvis told her he liked to go to the school for the deaf in Jackson, Mississippi and sing and play for the kids.  She said “But Elvis, they can’t hear you.”  “Oh...,” remarked Elvis. “They somehow feel the beat.  Those little feet pat out the rhythm.”


Unlike Grandma Moses’ folk art paintings, Alice Moseley’s works are relatively affordable for fans of this genre.  I found one on the Internet, a 12 inch by 16 inch painting entitled “Cabin Scene – Wash Day” with an estimated auction price of $500 - $800.


I believe that this painting is entitled “Cotton – Heaven’s Greatest Gift”.

To view a number of other works by Miss Alice, just click on the following: http://www.artnet.com/artists/alice-latimer-moseley/past-auction-results.

This was a great stop on our drive along US 90 and the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.  We would heartily recommend it to both antique and art lovers.  The docent on duty was lovely and a real charmer! The museum and displays were pristine.   To learn more about the Alice Moseley Folk Art and Museum, just go to http://www.alicemoseley.com/.  It’s located at 1928 Depot Way in Bay St. Louis Mississippi.


Lastly, this Alice Moseley painting is aptly titled, “Labor vs. Management”! 

There is no admission charge for visiting the museum but they do accept donations.  The docent was so happy that Dawn Marie donated $20.00 that she stopped us before we left and gave us a print of this painting… It now sits in our bonus/computer room. 

As you can see below, I might be a ‘little’ partial to the ‘folk art’ painting… Folk art is generally defined as the work of artists who have no real formal training and who paint works that reflect childhood memories and/or a nostalgic vision of the past.



Both of these ‘primitives’ plus many others with related themes were painted by Elizabeth ‘Beth’ Thomson…who was my mother.  Folk art paintings were just one of the many artistic endeavors that she focused on during her lifetime…but this series of paintings are at the top of my list of favorites.  So…given this background you can probably see why I was so attracted to Miss Alice’s folk art creations.

That’s about it for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a museum tour!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


5 comments:

  1. How fun to discover Miss Alice. She is quite talented. I believe I may have seen some of her paintings on Antiques Road Show. I really like the one that depicted Elvis' homes and the cotton, heaven's greatest gift. While you were in New Orleans, did you happen to run across any pottery from Newcomb College? It was Sophie Newcomb College, but it became part of Tulane. The students that attended Newcomb produced some fine (and now very collectible) pottery dating back to the late 1890's to the '40's. I've seen many of that pottery on the Road Show too. Fun post David.
    Sam

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  2. Even though you said you did not learn much about Beauvoir and the Jefferson Davis museum, I learned a lot from reading your post and enjoyed it. I really like the Alice Moseley paintings – they are lovely. What an enjoying tour you had there, and looking at your mother’s paintings I can see why you had so much fun.

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  3. Miss Alice must've been quite the talented lady! Her paintings are great; folk art has always fascinated me, and the kitchen painting with all the blue is awesome. Since I grew up on the farm outside of Columbus, my grandmother had a lot of local pottery that I have now and I will see where exactly they were made. That's a great Elvis story! I really enjoyed reading this post, you always have something interesting to say!

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  4. What a wonderful tour David, I usually don't go to museums so this was a way of keeping up with art. I like the labor and management painting:)

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  5. Hey Dave. This is Alice Moseley's son Tim writing you from wonderful Bay St. Louis Mississippi. I thoroughly enjoyed your blog and do not believe anyone has ever done a better job of writing up the Museum and showing himself to be as knowledgeable about both folk art and antiques. Your mother's folk art made me question,, at first, whether it might have been done by my mom as their styles are very similar though your moms colors are more sedate. Very nice paintings. As to Sam who asked about Newcomb College pottery, I was going across North Mississippi and Alabama back in the 1970s when I bought a Newcomb vase in Iuka Mississippi for five dollars and that afternoon bought another Newcomb vase in Sheffield Alabama for six dollars. These were the only two pieces I ever came across that were priced less than a couple thousand dollars. Dave, I would like to use your blog in getting more people to know about the Museum and would appreciate it if you would email me at timmdd@bellsouth.net. Again, love the articles and love your mother's folk art. Let me know if you ever come back this way. tim moseley

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