christian berstart brut
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A poor child of Mississippi condemned to the hardest work, this African-American woman began, at the dawn of her life, a work that resembles a real graphic blues. Mary T. Smith gave shape to her personal cosmology by painting on sheets of corrugated iron and wooden panels
arranged around her house. Her “solar aesthetic”—says Daniel Soutif—and her powerfully elementary modes of representation made a strong impression on Jean‑Michel Basquiat. Now considered an emblematic figure of American art brut, her works have been added to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Smithsonian Museum of American Art (Washington) and the High Museum of Art (Atlanta) collections.

mary t smith - © christian berst — art brut
Date 1904 — 1995
Country United States

Mary Tillman Smith was born in 1904 in southern Mississippi, the third of thirteen children born to an African-American sharecropping family. She worked on the land and as a cook for most of her life; since she was extremely hard of hearing, her ability to communicate with people around her was limited. As a child, she preferred to stay apart from her siblings and draw in the dust on her own.

She brought her only son up alone following her second divorce. She retired in around 1978, after a lifetime of poverty and suffering that could so easily have crushed any aspiration to creativity, and immediately set about dividing her yard into a series of spaces decorated with patterns. This enabled her to rise above her modest circumstances to create a unique vision of the world where art became the supreme interpreter of forces that were greater than her, lending her new dignity. She painted what she saw around her on planks of wood or sheets of corrugated iron – portraits of friends and neighbours, allegorical figures, and farm animals, mainly using just one or two colours. She occasionally added signs or slogans reflecting her deep, abiding love for her God. On the roof of her house she placed boards with messages for drivers passing in their cars.

Mary T. Smith died in 1995 aged 91, leaving a several hundred paintings of unique, elemental power. Her work was featured in the exhibition Outside the Mainstream: Folk Art in Our Time at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta in 1988, in the exhibition souls grown deep like the rivers, at the Royal Academy of Arts, and at the gallery christian berst in the exhibition mary t. smith: mississippi shouting. She recently has been acquired by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC.

Please contact us to inquire about the available works.
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 1987
23.62 x 31.89 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 1985
16.54 x 10.24 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 1980
23.62 x 23.62 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 1988
19.29 x 24.02 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 1980
48.03 x 23.62 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 1987
24.02 x 35.83 in
Mary T. Smith Mississippi shouting #2
mary t. smith : mississippi shouting #2 - © christian berst — art brut

Texts : William S. Arnett & Daniel Soutif
Foreword : Christian Berst
Catalog published to mark the exhibition mary t. smith : mississippi shouting #2, from October, 14 to November 21, 2021

Mississippi Metal On Highway 51
Mary T. Smith, Institute 193. From April 19 to June 8, 2024.
The words to say it #1
curator: laurianne melierre, main gallery. From April 11 to May 11, 2024.
A work by Mary T. Smith at the Amercian Folk Art Museum
American Folk Art Museum, New York, Etats-Unis. From November 15 to March 24, 2023.
Portreto de la animo
collection Treger Saint-Silvestre, Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis, Porto, Portugal. From July 13 to November 12, 2023.
hawkins bolden, lonnie holley, et mary t. smith presented in the exhibition By Any Means Necessary at the blum & poe gallery
Curated by Lonnie Holley, Blum & Poe Los Angeles. From April 29 to June 10, 2023.
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Exhibition souls grown deep like the rivers, black artists from the american south with Thornton Dial, Hawkins Bolden, Mary T. Smith, Mose Tolliver and Henry and Georgia Speller
royal academy of arts, london, united kingdom. From March 17 to June 18, 2023.
Culturas Paralelas:
works from the treger saint silvestre collection, Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade do Porto, Portugal. From February 17 to April 22, 2023.
brut favorites.!
feilacher’s choice, Museum Gugging. From September 30, 2022 to March 5, 2023.
Mary T. Smith :
Mississippi shouting #2, at the gallery. From October 14 to November 21, 2021.
Inaugural Exhibition
Pre-Renovation Potluck, March, New-York. From May 15 to June 30, 2021.
Sereno variavel
curated by Antonia Gaeta, Centro de Arte Oliva, São João da Madeira. From October 31, 2020 to May 2, 2021.
A Different Mountain
selected works from the Arnett collection, marlborough gallery, London. From November 21, 2019 to January 18, 2020.
Alvaro Barrington: Artists I Steal From
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac London. From June 5 to August 9, 2019.
Flying High
Women Artists of Art Brut, Kunstforum, Vienne. From February 15 to June 23, 2019.
Leben in art brut
coll. Hannah Rieger, Bildraum, Vienna. From July 14 to August 16, 2018.
In and out of Africa
Oliva Creative Factory, Portugal. From October 7, 2017 to April 7, 2018.
Living in art brut
123 works from the Hannah Rieger Collection, Musuem Krems an der Donau. From September 8 to October 26, 2017.
The Museum of everything
Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania. From June 17, 2017 to April 2, 2018.
l’art du sud africain-américain, fine Arts Museum de San Francisco, USA. From June 3, 2017 to April 1, 2018.
salon des galeries et des collectionneurs engagés , carreau du temple. From December 8 to 11, 2016.
The Color Line
Musée du Quai Branly, Paris. From October 4, 2016 to January 15, 2017.
Art brut live
DOX centre for contemporary art, Praha. From March 27 to August 17, 2015.
Art brut
ABCD Collection / Bruno Decharme, la Maison rouge, Paris. From October 17, 2014 to January 18, 2015.
mary t. smith
mississippi shouting, at the gallery. From January 22 to March 3, 2013.
american outsiders I
the black south, at the gallery. From June 19 to July 18, 2009.
Inner Worlds Outside
Fundacion La Caixa, Madrid ; Whitechapel gallery, London ; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. From January 18 to December 30, 2006.
Treasures to go
traveling exhibition, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington . From January 2, 2000 to May 2, 2003.
Outside the mainstream
folk art in our time, High Museum of Art, Atlanta. From May 19 to August 12, 1988.
exhibition view of *mary t. smith, mississipi shouting #2*, christian berst art brut, paris, 2021 - © christian berst — art brut
exhibition view of *mary t. smith, mississipi shouting #2*, christian berst art brut, paris, 2021 - © christian berst — art brut
exhibition view of *mary t. smith, mississipi shouting #2*, christian berst art brut, paris, 2021 - © christian berst — art brut
exhibition view of *flying high, künstlerinnen der art brut*, curators: ingried brugger, hannah rieger, veronika rudorfer, kunstforum, vienna, austria, 2019. - © kunstforum, photo: nilo klotz, christian berst — art brut
exhibition view of *mary t. smith, mississipi shouting*, christian berst art brut, paris, 2013. - © christian berst art brut, christian berst — art brut
exhibition view of *mary t. smith, mississipi shouting #2*, christian berst art brut, paris, 2021 - © christian berst — art brut
Mary T. Smith - © christian berst — art brut
Mary T. Smith - © christian berst — art brut
Mary T. Smith - © christian berst — art brut
Mary T. Smith - © christian berst — art brut
Mary T. Smith - © christian berst — art brut
Mary T. Smith - © christian berst — art brut
Mary T. Smith - © christian berst — art brut
Press review
christian berst art brut unveils two new exhibitions
Photos : Michaël Huard, Saywho. April 16, 2024.
A visit to Art Brut collector Hannah Rieger
Magdalena Froner And Hugo V. Astner, Stayinart Collections. May 26, 2023.
confessioni di un collezionista. Intervista a antoine de galbert
Roberta Trapani, Rivista Osservatorio Outsidersart N°24. September 23, 2022.
il blues di mary t. smith
Yaysis Ojeda Becerra, Rivista Osservatorio Outsidersart N°24. September 23, 2022.
Un Monde d’art Brut - Par Oriol Malet & Christian Berst - Delcourt/Encrages
DT, ActuBD. August 13, 2022.
View more
Bulles d’art - Un monde d’art brut
Philippe Ducat, Artpress. April 20, 2022.
Un monde d’art brut
Marie Zawisza, Le Journal Des Arts. March 28, 2022.
‘Blues’ de Mary
Yaysis Ojeda Becerra, Hyper Media Magazine. March 10, 2022.
Oriol Malet: “Me ilusionan los encargos que no sé si sabré hacer”
Francesca Bombi-Vilaseca Barcelona, La Vanguardia. January 4, 2022.
Un monde d’art brut
J. Milette, BDGest. December 20, 2021.
La hotte est pleine !
Léa Cances, Art Hebdo Médias. December 20, 2021.
‘Art brut’, entre la genialidad y la locura
Jordi Canyissà Barcelona, La Vanguardia. December 8, 2021.
Un mundo de art brut. Entrevista a Oriol Malet, norma editorial
Mery Cuesta, Norma Editorial. November 22, 2021.
Culture / L’Art brut: un succès non démenti
Yves Tenret, Bon Pour La Tête. November 19, 2021.
Un monde d’Art Brut, une initiation en BD
Laetitia Larralde, Toute La Culture. November 8, 2021.
Mississippi Shouting #2
Damien Aubel, Transfuge. October 30, 2021.
Christian Berst Art Brut : Mary T. Smith
Anne Kerner, Paris Capitale. October 28, 2021.
« Un monde d’art brut » : la fureur de créer
Jonathan Fanara, Le Mag Du Ciné. October 27, 2021.
BD du mois – Se laisser tenter par l’aventure
Charlène Ponzo, Maze. October 27, 2021.
Un vieux monsieur dérangé
Géant Vert, Rock & Folk. October 22, 2021.
un monde d’art brut
Franck Guigue, Planete BD. October 19, 2021.
Mary T. Smith, It’s all right !
Philippe Godin , La Diagonale De L’art. October 15, 2021.
Berst = Brut
Frédéric Bosser, Les Arts Dessinés. October 12, 2021.
L’art brut adapté en bande dessinée
Natacha Wolinski, The Art Newspaper. October 8, 2021.
Christian Berst : « L’art brut est au cœur et non à la marge »
Marie-Laure Desjardins, Art Hebdo Médias. October 22, 2020.
The Bold, Blessed Paintings of a Sharecropper’s Daughter
Edward M. Gómez, Hyperallergic. June 8, 2019.
Ruée vers l’art brut
Noémie Barré, Photos Nathalie Baetens, Coté Paris N°29. October 15, 2013.
composition in black and white
Paige Williams, The New Yorker. August 5, 2013.
L’étoile du sud
Séverine Kodjo-Grandvaux, Jeune Afrique. February 24, 2013.
Mary T. Smith Mississipi shouting
Bénédicte Phillipe, Télérama Sortir. February 20, 2013.
Le quotidien sans artifices de Mary T. Smith
Sonia Desprez, A Nous Paris. February 18, 2013.
Un cri passage du Mississipi
Animula Vagula. February 16, 2013.
Black art folk esthétique solaire
Eric Tariant, Le Journal Des Arts. February 15, 2013.
Mary Tillman Smith, Mississipi Shouting
Philippe Godin, February 11, 2013.
Sacré art brut
Version Femina. February 10, 2013.
Rencontre avec Christian Berst : l’art brut, une esthétique de l’altérité ?
Delphine Neimon, The Artchemists. February 3, 2013.
L’art brut afro américain
Séphanie Pioda, La Gazette De Drouot. February 1, 2013.
Mary T. Smith à la galerie Christian Berst
Sophie Lesort, January 31, 2013.
Mary T Smith peint le blues
Dominique Poiret, Liberation Next. January 31, 2013.
Pourquoi l’art brut suscite-t-il autant d’intérêt ?
Roxana Azimi, Le Quotidien De L’Art. January 15, 2013.
Mary T. Smith Mississippi Shouting
L’officiel Galeries & Musée. January 8, 2013.
American outsiders - The Black South
Télérama Sortir. July 15, 2009.
National Gallery of art
United States
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
United States
Smithsonian Museum Of American Art
United States
Musée national d’art moderne (Pompidou)
High Museum of Art
United States
View more
Carmen and Daniel Klein collection
Antoine Frérot collection
abcd / Bruno Decharme collection
Treger Saint Silvestre collection
American Folk Art Museum
United States
Hannah Rieger collection
Ogden Museum of Southern Art
United States
Fine arts museums of San Francisco
United States
Mary T. Smith : mississippi shouting #2 par Christian Berst
mary t. smith : mississippi shouting #2
Mary T. Smith

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