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 Elijah Pierce  (1892 - 1984)

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Lived/Active: Ohio/Mississippi      Known for: bas relief religious carving, narrative

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A folk-art carver of bas reliefs, Elijah Pierce created works that "are considered to be among the most important American folk carvings" of the 20th Century. (Rosenak 215). Described as a sculptural storyteller, he did carvings of African-American sports heroes, biblical subjects and political and social issues. He is best known for his religious carvings including the "Book of Wood", a series of thirty-three large reliefs with each representing one of the thirty-three years of the life on earth of Jesus Christ.

Elijah Pierce began carving as a young child in Mississippi and settled in Columbus, Ohio where he ran his barbershop that had two rooms---one for the barber customers and one for displaying his carving.

The largest collection of work including the "Book of Wood" series is at The Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio. In 1993, that museum held a retrospective exhibition of his work, "Elijah Pierce, Woodcarver". With more than 170 pieces, the exhibit traveled to several venues.

Chuck and Jan Rosenak, "Contemporary American Folk Art: A Collector's Guide"

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Elijah Pierce is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Black American Artists

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