The Essential Elijah Pierce

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September 13, 2012
May 1, 2013

As the final exhibition in its celebration of the Columbus 2012 Bicentennial, the Columbus Museum of Art is proud to present the work of one of America’s foremost woodcarvers and folk artists, Elijah Pierce. Born in Baldwyn, Mississippi in 1892, Pierce began carving wood as a child. After a stint working as an itinerant worker, Pierce found a religious calling and received his preacher’s license in 1920. In 1923, Pierce moved to Columbus, where he married and opened a barbershop. Joining his love of woodcarving and his vocation as a preacher, Pierce continued making carvings and sculptures that took their subject from the Bible, American popular and folk heroes, and contemporary events such as the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War. His narrative carvings soon came to be regarded as some of the most individual, personal, whimsical, and spiritual ever produced by an American folk artist.

The Columbus Museum of Art owns the largest holding of Elijah Pierce’s work in the country, and is proud to share a portion of this collection with the city of Columbus, where Pierce lived and worked for more than sixty years.