Henry Speller

Three femal figures with yellow, gray, and orange hair standing side by side on background made of purple scribbles
Henry Speller
Glorie Jean and Her Friends
Porous-point pen, wax crayon, and graphite on wove paper.
18 1/16 x 24 in. (45.9 x 60.9 cm)
Gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection and purchase on the Manley Family Fund.

Speller worked as a sharecropper in the Mississippi Delta region before relocating to Memphis in 1939. He worked as a landscaper and garbage collector, and found solace in art and music. In drawings such as this one, which depicts three semi-nude women on a vibrant purple ground, the sexuality of Speller's subjects serves as a metaphor for a freedom that he felt was out of his own reach.

Artist page: