Duane Morris 100th Anniversary. Artwork from the collection of Duane Morris is published by Fleisher/Ollman Gallery in 2011.
Bill Traylor was born into slavery in 1854 on the plantation of George Hartwell Traylor, near Benton, Alabama. He received no formal education, and after his emancipation, he chose to remain on the Traylor's land as a farm hand with his wife and 22 children. He lived there until 1938, when he was 84. Then, after his wife and the Traylor's had passed away and his children had left, he moved to Montgomery, Alabama. It was not until 1939, when Traylor was eighty-five, that he began to draw. "It just come to me" he told a reporter. Between 1939 and 1942, he produced approximately 1,500 works, many of which now reside in major private and public collections, including the American Folk Art Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.