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Six Decades Collecting Self-Taught Art: Revealing a Diverse and Rich Artistic Narrative

November 11, 2020–January 2, 2022

The inaugural exhibition in the Audrey B. Heckler Gallery conveys the museum’s deep commitment to studying, preserving, and sharing the complexity, ingenuity, and historical relevance of self-taught art across time, cultures, and place.

Arranged in the gallery are several works from the museum’s collection, as well as masterworks by Martín Ramírez, Barbus Müller (a.k.a. Antoine Rabany), and Achilles B. Rizzoli, all recently donated to the museum by its esteemed Trustee, Audrey B. Heckler.

Exhibition curators: Emelie Gevalt and Valérie Rousseau


Achilles G. Rizzoli (1896–1981, United States); Mother Symbolically Represented/The Kathredal; November 11, 1936; ink on rag paper; 27 3/4 x 47 5/8 in.; American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Audrey B. Heckler. Photography © Visko Hatfield, from The Hidden Art (Rizzoli Electa, 2017).

Barbus Müller, a.k.a. Antoine Rabany (1844–1919, France); untitled; c. 1907–1919; granite; 16 x 9 x 8 in.; American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Audrey B. Heckler. Photography © Visko Hatfield.

Melvin Way (b. 1954, New York City); Untitled (“FleSsSh”); c. 2000; ballpoint pen on paper with Scotch tape; 1 1/4 × 2 1/8 in.’; Gift of Jacqueline Loewe Fowler, 2016.15.1; Photo Credit: Adam Reich⁠


Audrey B. Heckler has been a devoted trustee of the American Folk Art Museum since 2003. She has enriched the museum through loans for exhibitions, gifts to the collection, and financial support of the museum’s initiatives. In honor of her generous contributions and steadfast support, the museum proudly named a permanent gallery in her honor in 2020.

The American Folk Art Museum Just Landed One of the Most Important Collections of Self-Taught Art in Private Hands—See It Here
– Sarah Cascone
Trove donated by collector Audrey B. Heckler includes examples of European Art Brut and works by African-American artists
– Nancy Kenney