Joseph E. Yoakum (American, 1886-1972), Mt. Sassafras, Blue Ridge Moun – Lofty Marketplace
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Joseph E. Yoakum (American, 1886-1972), Mt. Sassafras, Blue Ridge Mountain Range, 1970, watercolor on paper, signed

Joseph E. Yoakum (American, 1886-1972), Mt. Sassafras, Blue Ridge Mountain Range, 1970, watercolor on paper, signed

Item Description:

Watercolor and ink on paper, inscribed at upper left "Mt. Sassafras in Blue Ridge Mountain Range / Highest point in state near Marietta South Carolina by Joseph Yoakum", and date stamped "Jan 30 1970", unframed but hinged to the backing board


Tear to the center of the lower edge, small loss to lower portion, hinged to the backing board along the top edge, creasing at hinges along the top edge, otherwise appears fine. Please contact for specific condition questions. Lofty does not guarantee the condition or authenticity of frames.


Private collection


Height 14 in. x Width 23 in. (sheet)

Height 23.5 in. x Width 30.5 in. (mat, approx.)

About The Artist:

Joseph Elmer Yoakum was an enigmatic American Outsider Artist greatly admired by Chicago artists in the 1960s, who first saw his drawings hanging in the window of the South Side storefront that was home. Yoakum was born in 1890 in Ash Grove, Missouri, although he claimed to have been born on a Navajo reservation. Of African-American, Cherokee Creek, and European ancestry, his only connection to Navajo people was through the family who had adopted his aunt. His life and legacy is marked by mystery, due to his love of travel and adventure, and scholars have faced the problem of discerning fact from fantasy when studying his haunting, exotic landscapes.

After traveling the world with several circuses, as a stowaway, and as a soldier in World War I, Yoakum settled down to married life. He started to draw intermittently in the 1950s. After he moved to Chicago in 1962, he started to paint using a process he called "spiritual unfoldment," through which images revealed themselves to him as he drew.

Yoakum drew with lead and color pencils and ink pens, and painted in watercolor, using common cotton swabs as a blending device. His mountainous landscapes are mesmerizing and appear alive with the faces of spirits. His fascination with Native American art--especially of Navajo and Northwest Coast peoples--informed his flattened, stylized compositions. He was also inspired by photographs he found in travel magazines. Despite these influences, his intuitive mode of working is quintessentially Outsider. Yoakum was recognized during his lifetime with an exhibition at the Ed Sherbyn in 1968. He passed away in 1972, and was honored the same year with a solo show at the Whitney Musuem of Art in New York City.

- Jenifer P. Borum, Outsider Art Fair/Wide Open Arts


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