Lot Details

Work measures 20.75" x 30" and is in excellent condition, in the original found frame, as framed by Serl. The frame is worn and scratched with traces of gold leaf - in the same condition as when Serl first mounted it to the painting.

In "Wee Chick," executed in 1969, Jon Serl renders four birds in an array of vibrant blues and greens. With his typical gestural brushstrokes and thick layers of paint, this work provides an excellent example of the visceral, expressionistic style for which Serl is known.

Jon Serl (1894-June 23, 1993) is an self-taught painter whose work is often cited as an example of outsider art (or art brut). Serl, né Joseph Searles, was born in Olean, New York on an Indian reservation. Raised in utter destitution, from the age of 10 onwards, he was an itinerant vaudeville performer with an unconventional, vagabond lifestyle. He traveled cross-country and avoided participation in either world war by temporarily defecting to Canada. By the 1940’s, he had made his way to California, where he adopted multiple identities and held a number of odd jobs ranging from acting to dubbing voices to harvesting cherries. He was married three times, though all ended in divorce. He took up painting, sporadically at first, in 1949. Around 1970, Serl relocated to Lake Elsinore in Southern California, where he would live reclusively for the rest of his life. He began painting fervently and often applied pigment to any available surface, such as discarded boards and various found objects. Serl developed a bold, painterly style with visible brushstrokes and textured surfaces. He frequently layered oil paints in a thick impasto, creating a tactile, visceral effect. A figurative painter with a predilection for portraits, Serl executed numerous works of art featuring human exchanges and implied narratives. His brazen, vigorous brushwork lends his paintings a sense of immediacy reminiscent of expressionism. The artist was represented by the Jamison Thomas Gallery in Portland, Oregon in the 1980's until the gallery closed in 1994.

Selected Public Collections:
American Folk Art Museum, New York, NY
Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI

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  • The Artist Jamison Thomas Gallery, Orgeon Private Collection, Oregon
  • Pickup Location: Oregon, USA
  • Shipping Dimensions: 20.75 x 30 in. (52.7 x 76.2 cm.)
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