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On March 29-30, over 800 works from Academy Award-Winning Director Jonathan Demme’s art collection will be sold during an auction at Material Culture in Philadelphia. For 27 years, Demme has collected self-taught art by contemporary Jamaican intuitive painters and Haitian and American outsider artists. The 1,050-lot sale spans from the 1940s through present day.

After acquiring a small painting by the Haitian painter Wilson Bigaud in 1986, Demme made the first of many trips to Haiti. The director learned Creole, befriended many local artists, and became a regular at the Centre d’Art, which showcased some of Haiti’s greatest artistic masterpieces. In 1997, Demme curated “Island on Fire,” an exhibition in Manhattan that featured over 100 Haitian paintings from his collection.

A weeklong auction preview will be held at Material Culture from March 22-29. Haitian paintings and sculpture will be displayed by region, alongside works by American self-taught artists such as Purvis Young, Minnie Evans, and Walter Ellison. Demme’s collection also includes Americana wood carvings, tramp art, weathervanes, and canes. 

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