Howard Finster  (American, 1916-2001) 

Howard Finster (American, December 2, 1916–October 22, 2001) was a Modern Folk artist from Summerville, GA. He was one of 13 children raised on a farm, and he attended school only until the sixth grade. Finster's interest in the gospel began at a Baptist revival when he was just 13 years old. A preacher at age 16, he wrote articles for the local newspaper while giving sermons in churches. In the late 1940s, Finster built his first garden park museum, featuring the exhibit The Inventions of Mankind.

The exhibit was intended to be a representation of all the inventions ever created, and it included a duck pond and a flock of pigeons. In 1961, Finster ran out of space and decided to purchase four additional acres of land in Pennville, GA. This is where he envisioned the Plant Farm Museum, a collection of Garden of Eden-like creations featuring attractions such as The Mirror House, Bible House, and the Folk Art Chapel. Scattered throughout were signs containing Bible verses, because Finster believed that "They stuck in people's heads better that way."

Finster did not learn how to paint in a university; instead he was self-taught, and most of his work was inspired by visions. He believed he was sent to Earth to spread the word of God, and he retired from preaching in 1965 to improve his Plant Farm Museum. This lasted until 1976, when he was inspired to paint only sacred art of religious inspiration that was intended to uplift and inspire. These images ranged from Pop icons to religious figures, such as his interpretation of John the Baptist. A year earlier, Finster was featured in Esquire magazine, and was eventually asked to create four paintings for the Library of Congress in 1977, one of which was titled He Could Not Be Hid.

Finster often created images on flat picture planes with Bible verses squeezed in. Each one also included a number because, under God's direction, he felt he had to generate a total of 5,000 paintings. Finster finished this feat in 1985, but continued to paint until his death in 2001. By then, he had created over 10,000 works of art.

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Howard Finster, The Earth Cracked Open


Howard Finster
The Earth Cracked Open

Auction: May 15, 2014
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers
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Howard Finster, Merry Christmas


Howard Finster
Merry Christmas

Skot Foreman Fine Art
Howard Finster, Howard and The Book of Life


Howard Finster
Howard and The Book of Life

Skot Foreman Fine Art
Howard Finster, Independence Day


Howard Finster
Independence Day

Skot Foreman Fine Art
Howard Finster, Clock Box II


Howard Finster
Clock Box II
Skot Foreman Fine Art
Howard Finster, Albert Einstein


Howard Finster
Albert Einstein

Skot Foreman Fine Art
Howard Finster, Triceratops with Glitter


Howard Finster
Triceratops with Glitter

Skot Foreman Fine Art
Howard Finster, Jesus Is Lord


Howard Finster
Jesus Is Lord
circa 1987

Skot Foreman Fine Art
Howard Finster, Giraffe


Howard Finster
circa 1991

Skot Foreman Fine Art
Past auction results (143)  View All
Howard Finster, Stranger of Another World


Howard Finster
Stranger of Another World, 1991
oil on wood


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Howard Finster, The Devil and His Wife


Howard Finster
The Devil and His Wife
oil on laminated board


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Howard Finster, Self-Portrait cutout and Clock case (2 works)


Howard Finster
Self-Portrait cutout and Clock case (2 works), 1988
enamel on wood


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1917   Born in Summerville, GA
1965   Retired from preaching
1976   Has a vision to paint sacred art
1984   Venice Biennale
2001   Died in Paradise Garden in Summerville, GA
  Reverend Howard Finster, American painter and clergyman