Coal Miner Jack: Drawings by Jack Savitsky
John "Jack" Savitsky is considered one of the prominent American folk artists of the twentieth century. Jack's depictions of life and hardships of the Pennsylvania coal miner are sharp and colorful, his presentations simple but not plain, full not overworked. His work is in most major museum collections, including the Smithsonian and the American Folk Art Musuem. On show will be a number of drawings on paper.
Considered as one of America's finest self-taught painters, John "Jack" Savitsky was born in 1910 and a native northeastern Pennsylvania. Upon completion of the sixth grade, Savitsky went to work in the mines. Thirty-five years in the mines and suffering black lung disease, he retired in 1960 and began to draw and paint in earnest.
Primarily, Savitsky's pictures depict the life and times of the coal miners, their families and life in the rural villages. His works present guileless views of his surroundings and people he knew best. With charm and warm humor, he portrayed what was close to his heart and soul.
Trying to sell his pictures for $5.00 each, Savitsky offered his works at local events. Then he was discovered by Sterling and Dorothy Strauser who encouraged him, bought his work and brought it to the attention of other significant artists and collectors. Savitsky began to attain universal recognition and Herbert Hemphill Jr. used a Savitsky painting for the cover of his book "Twentieth Century Folk Art and Artists".
"Coal Miner Jack" died in 1991. Today his works are displayed in many well-known collections and museums. These include the Smithsonian, the Museum of American Folk Art in New York, the Abby Aldridge Rockefeller Collection, Williamsburg, the Milwaukee Museum, and the National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC.