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December 30, 1941, seventy three years ago today: Photographer Edward Weston created a portrait of sculptor William Edmondson. Despite a vast gulf of class, race, culture, geography, Weston’s camera captured a moment of wordless communication and understanding between two visionary creators, two artists who shared an astute understanding of form and abstraction, two revealers of beauty and meaning.

Happy Birthday, William Edmondson

Wednesday, 10 December 2014 by

Happy Birthday, William Edmondson! The self-taught limestone sculptor was born in December, 1874, on a farm southwest of Nashville, in what is now the Green Hills neighborhood. We know the year and month from census records, but not the exact date. William’s mother, Jane, bore eleven children, six of whom survived to adulthood. The family Bible, with its birth records, was lost in a fire and, as a result, Edmondson himself didn’t know what year he was born. The common assumption is that William also didn’t know what month and day, but it could be that the newspaper reporters simply didn’t bother to ask.