Purvis Young

Purvis Young (1943-2010) lived in Overtown, part of Miami's inner city. He was discovered adorning the walls and fences of his neighborhood with murals. He was inspired by an artistic uncle at a young age and taught himself to paint by looking at books of the great master artists, such as Rembrandt and Van Gogh. Young painted on wood and other materials found on the street. His works show the truth of daily life in Miami, telling stories of people's triumphs and tragedies.

He received several commissions in Miami for wall murals and has had more than two dozen one-man exhibitions throughout the world. His work was included in the Museum of American Folk Art exhibition, Self-Taught Artists of the 20th Century.

In 2003, the Smithsonian selected Young's work to be included in their African American Masters: Highlights from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, a traveling exhibition that included pedigreed names like Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence.

In spite of his fame, he still liked to ride his bike through the streets of Overtown and in 2008 Miami officials honored him with a key to the city.


***To view more work by Purvis Young, click here to visit the collection of Dina Knapp.***

Purvis Young Folk Art

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