When Larry Schlachter visited his Northwest Georgia friend Howard Finster one weekend in 1989 and laid eyes on a nearly 8-foot-wide painted wooden cutout angel the artist had just completed, Mr. Schlachter knew he had to have it, even if he wasn’t quite sure how he’d afford it. Trying to keep up with unprecedented demand for his art, Mr. Finster had been moving into more of a production mode, and Mr. Schlachter sensed that a work of this beauty, size and detail would be hard to come by in the future. He was right.
Over the years, Mr. Schlachter and his wife Jane shared “Angel of the Lord” (#10,971) with many people – from church and community members who attended 13 Easter sunrise services at their home on the Cloudland brow of Lookout Mountain to exhibitions at Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum, Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and a Folk Art Society of America conference in Savannah. Now that they are little older and host guests less often, they decided that the angel deserves a new home.
“Art needs to be seen and enjoyed,” Mrs. Schlachter says. “Howard’s angel is too special a piece not to.”
The co-owners of Summerville’s Trade Day flea market and Folk America art gallery will donate a portion of sale proceeds to help establish the Arts and Learning Center at Paradise Garden, Mr. Finster’s folk art environment maintained by the nonprofit Paradise Garden Foundation.
“We are only too glad to do that to honor a dear friend who changed the direction of our lives and thousands of others as well,” Mr. Schlachter says. “I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined all the people who crossed our path -- artists, collectors and titans of industry – due to Howard. God bless his soul.”
“Angel of the Lord” is a highlight of Slotin Folk Art Auction’s Saturday Self-Taught Art Masterpiece Sale to held online via LiveAuctioneers, with phone and absentee bidding available. Information: slotinfolkart.com