Paris/Texas

Eddie Arning (1898–1993) was born in a farming town in Texas. He was placed in a mental institution after he committed violent acts as a teenager. In 1964, after a half-century of life inside, this quintessential outsider artist was introduced to drawing by a hospital worker.  Arning began making pictures with Crayolas, before switching in 1969 to oil pastels (or “Cray-pas”). Over ten years, he produced over 2000 images. He stopped drawing suddenly in 1974 after he was forced to leave his nursing home due to “bad conduct” (per Wikipedia).

The drawings below are all in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The full Arning archive is available online here. First would like to thank individuals who have donated Arning’s drawings to the Smithsonian, as well as those who have facilitated the purchase of his art.  If only they’d got a chance to throw Arning a party like the famous one Picasso hosted in Paris for the Douanier Rousseau!  B.D.

Red Board on Blue by Eddie Arning
RED BOAT ON BLUE: 1964, Gift of Bernard & Estelle Sobue

 

Hikers in the Forest by Eddie Arning
HIKERS IN THE FOREST: 1972, Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Alexander Saxton

 

The Forest by Eddie Arning
THE FOREST: 1964, Gift of Bernard & Estelle Sobue

 

Three Men in a Circle by Eddie Arning
THREE MEN IN A CIRCLE: 1969, Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Alexander Saxton

 

Interior with Figures by Eddie Arning
INTERIOR WITH FIGURES: 1969, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson

 

Hunter with Dog and Four Birds by Eddie Arning
HUNTER WTIH DOG AND FOUR BIRDS: 1972, Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Alexander Saxton

 

Two Artists Painting by Eddie Arning
TWO ARTISTS PAINTING: 1970, Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Alexander Saxton

 

Windmill by Eddie Arning
WINDMILL: 1966, Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Alexander Saxton

 

Birds by Eddie Arning
BIRDS: 1969, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson

 

Blue Churn on Yellow by Eddie Arning
BLUE CHURN ON YELLOW: 1964, Gift of Bernard & Estelle Sobue

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