Art made by people who never went to art school has become a special category, as least in museums and auctions. Sometimes called Outsider Art, sometimes called Self Taught Art, it has also been called Modern Primitive or Naive (Naif). Whatever you call it, the best of it draws big crowds and big money at auction

Madge Gill, self taught in England, was part of a big show at the Tate. See here

The 3 remarkable pictures above are by Martin Ramirez who never had a lesson, as if that matters. See here.

An American named Mose Tolliver painted this fine self portrait

William Tyler painted this Swimming Pool scene. Look here for more.

Emile Josome Hodinos,who produced the above picture, lived in France and was institutionalized for most of his life.

This is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Lessons wouldn’t have helped.

Cornwall produced one of the 20th century’s most highly regarded English artists, Alfred Wallis. He was a fisherman most of his life. Now there is a gallery just for him, here

The 2 above by the artist who seems to have started the rage for artists without art school credentials, Henri Rousseau. The trained artists of Paris loved his work. More here

Back to Madge Gill. Read her story here, it is extraordinary.

That description seems to fit most of the artists who have been labeled outsiders. It’s not so much their lack of formal training that defines them , but rather their truly eccentric lives. Artists of the mainstream have often enough carved out a living on the fringe of what is regarded as normal. The most remarkable of the untrained artists are on the fringe of that fringe.

Howard Finster, Mr Coke, seen here

Mr Finster again, from here

We at the R of L are quite fond of what happens on the fringe, and we particularly admire those on the far edge of that territory who somehow manage to create images of startling, unexpected joy.