American, 1945-2021

"Ace Hi Shack"

dye on carved and tooled leather
signed lower left "W. Rembert"
10 1/2 x 13 3/4 inches (sight)

  • Provenance: The artist; Private Collection, Connecticut
  • Notes: A copy of the original purchase receipt, signed by the artist, accompanies this lot.

    Framed dimensions: 12 x 15 x 1 inches

    Winfred Rembert was born in Cuthbert, Georgia in 1945. As a child he picked cotton and as a teenager he was arrested in the aftermath of a civil rights demonstration. He later broke out of jail, survived a near-lynching and spent seven more years in prison where he was forced to work on a chain gang. He was released in 1974 and settled in New Haven, Connecticut. When he was fifty-one years old, encouraged by his wife Patsy Gammage, he began carving and painting memories from his youth. He used leather and leather-tooling skills he had learned in prison to create his unique and colorful compositions.

    "With my paintings, I tried to make a bad situation look good. You can't make the chain gang look good in any way besides by putting it in art. Those black and white stripes look good on canvas. People can't really tell what they are until they get up close. They don't recognize those stripes as people until they take a real good look. That was my goal– to put it down so you can't understand it until you take a real up-close look. That tells you something about prison life. When you look at it from the outside, you can't see what's going on, but when you're up close you realize what you are up against."1

    Rembert was a self-taught artist using skills he learned in prison to create his colorful, three-dimensional compositions. As a child, he went to work on the cotton fields never learning to read or write. His intuitive sense of color and composition were recognized and in 2010 Adelson Galleries organized the first one-man show of Rembert's work in New York City. In 2000, he was the subject of a major exhibition at Yale University Art Gallery. Today, his works are displayed alongside noted African American artists including Jacob Lawrence, Hale Woodruff, Horace Pippin and Romare Bearden.

    1 Winfred Rembert, "An Artist on How He Survived the Chain Gang," The New Yorker, May 10, 2021.

    Tags: listed artist, New Haven artist, Outsider art, black artist, African-American artist, Georgia, 20th century, modern / contemporary
  • Condition: in good original condition with no apparent restoration

    We are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Shannon’s is merely a subjective qualified opinion. Frames on all paintings are sold "As Is". Frames may need some conservation. 

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As a convenience to the Buyer, Shannon's LLC will make a referral for packing and shipping. For a preliminary quote you may contact Jeff Von Flatern at [email protected] or 203-453-8866, Phil Buyse at [email protected] or (860) 561-1369, or Kristen Vineyard at Village Express 203-481-7426.

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April 27, 2023 6:00 PM EDT
Milford, CT, US


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