John Roeder (1877-1964)
Important Folk Art painting by California outsider artist, John Roeder (1877-1964). Island City, c.1945. Oil on illustration board measures 26 x 28 inches; 34 x 36 inches in original frame. Provenance: collection of Vincent Porcaro. Exhibited: Richmond Art Center, Richmond CA, 1961; Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden. Excellent condition with no damage or restoration. Signed lower left.
Roeder is an early example of an American outsider or folk artist, and an exceedingly rare figure in the art history of California. We can only speculate as to his influences: Grandma Moses was undiscovered until 1938 and did not find fame until 1939-40, first exhibiting in NYC. Roeder was working in his mature style by 1935-6 as evidenced by other examples in our collection. Bill Traylor did not exhibit prior to 1940. Figures like Clementine Hunter, Gertrude Morgan and Howard Finster would not emerge for decades.
Birth place: Luxembourg
Death place: Richmond, CA
Addresses: Richmond, CA, 1909
Profession: Sculptor, painter
Exhibited: Richmond Art Center, 1961 (solo), 1963 (solo); Museum of Modern Art, New York (Seventeen “Naive” Painters, traveling exhibition 1965-67); Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden, 1960’s, Oakland Mus., 1986
Work: Richmond Art Center
Comments: He worked in several professions and painted and sculpted in his free time in a primitive style.
Sources: Hughes, Artists in California, 476.
Born in Luxembourg in 1877. Roeder was raised on a farm and then worked in Lorraine in the steel mills and iron mines. With wife and children, he joined his brother in Richmond, CA in 1909. After working for Standard Oil as a pipe fitter and operating a ranch in nearby Sonoma, in 1928 he returned to Richmond to become the gardener for Union High School. A self-taught artist, in his leisure he sculpted and painted primitives. Roeder died in Richmond on July 31, 1964. Exh: Richmond Art Center,