Throughout the twentieth century, the raw, instinctive approach of self-taught artists has quietly attracted acclaimed “contemporary” artists, collectors with keen eyes and in more recent decades, insightful museum curators, who bring this material to the public eye.  The New Orleans Museum of Art was among the early pioneers, organizing the first solo exhibition of Clementine Hunter’s work in 1955 and collecting work by self-taught artists since the 1970s.

Unfiltered Visions: 20th Century Self-Taught American Art at NOMA is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum. NOMA’s exhibition, on view in The Helis Foundation gallery, demonstrates the diversity and individuality of self-taught artists’ work. Today, these artists are receiving the widespread recognition they have long deserved. Their creativity and inventive use of materials are expressed through dynamic and unfiltered visions.


God Garden

mid 1990s

Herbert Singleton

Paint on solid wood door

Gift of Robert A. Roth in honor of E. John Bullard, 2012.51

Last Supper No. 9


William Hawkins

Enamel paint and collage on Masonite

Gift of Dr. Kurt Gitter and Alice Rae Yelen, 2011.59

Melrose Plantation Quilt

ca. 1960s

Clementine Hunter

Cotton fabric quilt

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Robert Ryan, 80.159

Angels Over the City


Purvis Young

Acrylic on fabric and wood

Museum purchase with funds donated by Friends of Contemporary Art, 92.509