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 Ed (Eddy) Mumma  (1908 - 1986)

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Lived/Active: Florida/Ohio      Known for: naive figure painting

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Man With Red Hands
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Edward Mumma was born in Milton, Ohio, in 1908.  As a young man he traveled the county doing odd jobs, until he married and settled down near Springfield, Ohio, around 1936. Mumma and his wife started an antiques and junk business, which they ran until his wife’s death in 1966.  That year, he retired to Gainesville, Florida, to be near his daughter.

Although it was said Mumma had a cheery and upbeat personality, the artist was ill most of his life1.  After moving to Florida, Mumma’s daughter encouraged him to take an art class, to help take his mind off of his illnesses.  The teacher told Mumma his style was “sloppy”, and although Mumma never took another class, he continued to paint.

Most of Edward Mumma’s work consists of abstract versions of portraits focusing on faces and hands, although sometimes he depicted sailboats or animals.  His portraits almost always depicted the same close-up, expressionless round face.  This figure is repeated over and over in Mumma’s work, with variations of colors, hand placements, and dress.  Often, Mumma painted on both sides of his canvas or board paintings, and crudely framed them with scrap wood or plastic.

Mumma rarely sold his work, and kept his entire collection, between 600-800 works, at his house.  After his death, all of his work was sold to art collectors2.  It is now available for sale at many folk art galleries, and is in the collection of major museums such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

1. “Ed Mumma (‘Mr. Eddy’).”
Outsider Folk Art. Su and George Viener, n.d. Web.
2. Rosenak, Chuck and Jan Rosenak. Museum of American Folk Art Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century American Folk Art and Artists. New York: Abbeville Press, 1990.

Information provided by Angie Lewis Barry, Curator, Gadsden Arts Center

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