SISTER GERTRUDE MORGAN Sister Gertrude Morgan Main < BACK

Born in 1900 in Lafayette, Alabama, Sister Gertrude Morgan believed she was married to the "lamb" Jesus Christ. She was among the most important of the black Visionary painters of the century, and her work conveys spiritual messages.

From her youth, when she was an active member of the Baptist church, she showed strong religious convictions, but when she was thirty-seven, she found her true spiritual calling. As she told it, a voice spoke to her and said, " Go and preach, tell it to the world"; she followed the command and became the street evangelist for a fundamentalist scet, preaching in Columbus, Georgia, and Montgomery, Alabama, and accompanied her deep throaty singing with tambourine, guitar and piano. By 1939, she had settled in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she continued her street preaching and, with two other women, founded a small orphanage and built a chapel and childcare center in the Gentilly section of the city,

In 1957, she was told by God that she was "married to the lamb Christ," and she started to wear all white. She converted everything in her life into white objects, her house, her furniture, etc. In 1965 Hurricane Betsey destroyed the orphanage, but she rented a small building that she rented from E. Lorenz Borenstein, a local art gallery owner, and called it the Everlasting Gospel Mission. She sold her work through the gallery to support her mission, and eventually gained artistic recognition from the Museum of American Folk Art in New York.

Her paintings show colorful, often apocalyptic, vision of biblical events and of heaven and hell. Religious figures and children who often looked like her often occupy her pictures. He frequently portrayed herself as the bride of Christ, and illustrated the images with a childlike script that explained the meaning of the work. She painted on anything that was handy, paper, board, toilet paper rolls, window shades, etc. She outlined her images in pencil and pen and filled in with watercolors, pastels, crayons, or tempera.

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