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Painting by Alabama artist big seller at Christie’s

Dial, Untitled.jpg

Actor Jane Fonda sold some of her art at auction and her collection included works from an Alabama artist. Thornton Dial was a self-taught artist that has art hanging in the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well the Smithsonian. He died in 2016. Christie’s says that one of the pieces sold for over one hundred thousand dollars. Marcia Weber sell folk art in Wetumpka. She remembers when Dial first found out the value of his paintings:

“It was from six thousand to twenty-five thousand- in the price range- and I remember Thornton absolutely- his legs just went rubbery and he slumped into a sofa in shock. It was just a moment I will never forget really,” Weber recalled.

Christies Auction House says most of Jane Fonda’s artwork sold during the bidding, with Thornton Dial’s “utitled” selling for $107,100. Graham Boettcher is the director of the Birmingham Museum of Art which houses a large collection of Dial’s works:

“What I think is important about Thornton Dial is that he is proof positive that the creative spark, the creative spirit is not to confine to those with a formal artistic education, that each of us possesses within us the ability to be an artist.”

The Birmingham Museum of Art has a large collection of Dial’s work but his art can be found throughout the state. Dothan’s Wiregrass Museum of Art will present an exhibit of works by Dial starting January 19th and running until March.

Editor's Note— Christie's clarified its information to APR news. 93% of Fonda's art sold, not 100%.

Joe Moody is a senior producer and host for the APR newsroom. Before joining the team, Joe taught academic writing for several years nationally and internationally. He is a native of Montgomery and a proud Alabamian. He is currently studying library and information studies at the University of Alabama with a focus on archives. When he is not playing his tenor banjo, he enjoys listening to jazz records and 45s from the 1950s and 60s.
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