The sale lots include artworks by Thornton Dial, a self-taught American artist.
January 5, 2023: Auction house Christie’s has announced ‘Things Grow in the United States: Works from the Collection of Jane Fonda’ which will include a group of 14 objects from the personal collection of Jane Fonda in the Outsider and Vernacular Art sale during Americana Week, New York, on January 18, 2023. The group of artwork consists of paintings, sculptures, drawings, and assemblages by Thornton Dial (a self-taught and groundbreaking American artist who has become known over the last four decades for his massive work comprising found and repurposed materials), Arthur Dial, and Thornton Dial, Jr.
Ms. Fonda, an actress and an activist, mentions, “When you look at the artwork made by these talented men and women from the American South, you see that it’s truly great, it’s truly original, it’s truly American. We cannot allow racism and discrimination to keep this art from being included in our national family of artwork, which it has been for far too long. Found objects are a tradition of 20th century art. It’s Marcel Duchamp, his conversion of urinals into a so-called fountain, all the way to my friend Bob Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns—it’s not unique to these artists of the South. Dial used found objects in his environment, which I think is just so beautiful. He gave discarded things a second life, brilliantly repurposing material with an impact that very few artists ever had.”
Jane Fonda is on the board of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation and Community Partnership, an organization dedicated to promoting the work of Black artists from the American South.
The artworks in the sale address a range of historical and sociopolitical issues. Ms. Fonda’s collection consists of two assemblage works by Thornton Dial, each estimated to achieve $50,000-100,000. Mr. Dial’s practice investigates a wide range of poignant topics including social justice and human rights. His artworks have been attained by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and other important institutions.
Cara Zimmerman, Head of Outsider Art, Christie’s says “We are honored to offer works by these important artists in our upcoming January auction during Americana Week. The pieces proffer, through subject matter and media, an intensely powerful look into their creators’ experiences as Black artists in the American South. Works by Dial family members are now held in many museum collections, and their increasing presence in the American art historical canon is long overdue.”