Lillian Webb (Tennessee, 1930-2010) outsider art acrylic on panel painting depicting a bust portrait of Marilyn Monroe in a blue strapless dress against a red background. Signed “L Webb” lower left. Unframed. 20″ H x 16″ W. Provenance: Estate of Carl Klein, Brentwood, TN. Biography: Lilian Webb, also spelled Lillian Webb, was born Feb. 8, 1930 and grew up in Nashville, where her family ran a small grocery store of Nolensville Road. A self taught painter, her work was discovered by an art dealer named “Ms. Butler” who convinced Webb to let her offer her paintings for sale in a gallery in Nashville’s former Church Street Centre. “Not many sold,” Webb recalled in a 1994 interview documented by collector Carl Klein, “but she said she sold most of them in New York later.” Webb’s work came to the attention of nationally known outsider art patron Dan Prince, and a number of other collectors and dealers of outsider art, including some who tried to formally represent Webb. She refused, saying “I want to be unknown. I don’t want to be in the limelight…When people start pressuring me, I quit painting.” About her technique, Webb said “I paint real fast because Van Gogh could paint 3 paintings in one day. If I spend too much time on a painting it makes me nervous,” and “I [paint] people I love the best very well.” Webb’s early works included interpretations of masters such as Renoir. Her later paintings focused on popular culture or historical figures such as presidents and celebrities. Webb’s work can be found in the homes of several Nashville area outsider art collectors and has been exhibited at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Virginia (How Artists See their World: Outside Art from the Dan Prince Collection, 2010) and the Cannon County Arts Center (Dr. & Mrs. Benjamin Caldwell Collection, 2014). Source: Notes from a July 3, 1994 interview with collector Carl Klein (late owner of these works) and the Cannon County Courier, July 23, 2014. CONDITION: Overall good condition with minor surface abrasions, largest 1/4″.
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