|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Known for his ship portrait paintings, Joe Selby was born in Mobile,
Alabama, and settled in Miami, Florida. He was an
African-American painter whose subjects were the ships and yachts that
docked at the Miami city pier between 1921 and 1959.|
twelve-year old deck hand, he had lost a leg in a shipboard accident,
but during the 1930s, his love of marine activity led him to join a
steamer out of Mobile.
Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art
|Biography from Roger King Fine Art, Q - Z:|
|Joe Selby (1893-1960) was born in Mobile, Alabama. He painted in
Miami, Florida from the 1920s to the 1950s. As a boy he worked as
a deck hand; in 1905 at age twelve he was involved in a tragic accident
when his leg was mangled in a breaking towline and was subsequently
The extent of his artistic training, if any, is unknown; he cultivated
his clientele directly, approaching yacht owners at the Miami city pier
to ask if they wanted a portrait of their boat. If the owner
agreed, Selby boarded the vessel to take notes and make measurements,
then returned to a fire station near the dock where he would commence
on the portrait.
Over the years his clients included General Motors magnates Alfred P.
Sloan and Charles Kettering, Axel Wennegren, Arthur James Curtis,
William B. Leeds, and members of the Morgan and Rockefeller families.
Selby lived much of his life in public housing in Miami's Overtown
district before constructing his own home. His last dated
painting was in 1959.
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