While we were looking, my wife Beth only somewhat jokingly said, "I wonder how many of your limestone carvings are they going to have mistakenly included in this search?"
Surprisingly, what we did find this time was a piece of mine I had sold in Nashville years ago (pictured here). Unfortunately it had been attributed to an acquaintance the very talented, but deceased, sculptor and Vanderbilt teacher Thomas Puryear Mims from Nashville. Tom and I, occasionally exhibited together. My Indiana limestone carving they mistakenly attributed to him sold at auction in 2011 in New York City.
Here is that link:
I wrote the auction house, but have not yet heard from them and would not be surprised if I don't. I myself am currently working on an appraisal of 10 of my significant early pieces from a private collection here to help settle an estate. I know there can be issues and questions even when you are very knowledgeable.
I wish my asphaltic limestone carving "If you go barefoot, you are going to get thorns!" that I sold to Miss MaryLou Derryberry in Chattanooga way back when would pop back up somewhere, sometime too. I would like to see it again. If you run across it let me know, I rarely took photos.
While I am from Memphis, I owe having made my career as a sculptor largely because of Edmonson. He was from Nashville and quite universally well-known there. As a consequence, everyone there easily related to my Indiana Limestone carvings. The majority of his work is held in private collections there, plus a few here. Thankfully, many of those collectors also bought my pieces. I usually delivered and placed my carvings, and so not only had the opportunity to see a large percentage of his body of work, but I was allowed to study, handle and on occasion move them for the sometimes aging owners who had bought them from him personally when they were very inexpensive (even a few dollars). His carvings were sometimes found being used as doorstops. Some of the owners were not wealthy themselves but everyday folks who so appreciated the pieces in their collections that they had so far managed to resist the astronomical and ever-growing prices his pieces were demanding (valued at tens of thousands of dollars). My favorite collector, a retired African-American school teacher had quite a number that were small. She had originally bought them for her tiny garden. She also became a regular customer of mine, and so I was told many stories of her visiting his stone yard. The Tennessee State Museum who owns his work had a retrospective of his carvings back in the 1980's I think, that I visited often during the run of the show.
The museum also owns a piece of mine titled “Sweet Spring” reminiscent of Edmonson which is on loan to the Governors Residence where it was installed in the entrance garden. I doubt it would be there without the William Edmonson legacy.
Just as surprising was a large painting of "Sweet Spring" also in the Governors Residence collection, but that with pictures of them are another story.
Oh yea, thanks to the New York auction house for these great pictures of my carving, even if you did get who did it wrong.