Knoxville (865) 558-3033 • Nashville (615) 812-6096 •

Case Auctions
Live Auction

Summer Fine Art and Antique Auction - Day 1

Sat, Jul 9, 2022 09:00AM EDT
Lot 205

3 J.B. Murray Outsider Art Works incl. Framed Spirit Writing

Estimate: $1,000 - $1,400

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
Three (3) John Bunion (J.B.) Murray (Murry) (American, Georgia, 1908-1988) folk art works. 1st item: Abstract painting on masonry or concrete board rendered in soft colors of white, yellow and blue/green in a vertical orientation, resembling figures. Red illegible inscriptions en verso, possibly a date and last name. Unframed. 12" H x 26" W. 2nd item: Framed "spirit script" writing on paper. Sheet: 9" H x 6 1/8" W. Framed: 15" H x 12" W. 3rd item: John Bunion (J.B.) Murray (Murry) (American, Georgia, 1908-1988) folk art "spirit writing" painting on paper towel, water color and marker. 35" W x 11 1/8" H (total surface with writing). Biography: John Bunion Murray was an African American artist who grew up in rural Glascock County, GA where he worked as a tenant farmer. At the age of 50, his wife left him, and his eleven grown children had moved from home, leaving Murray in isolation, where he turned to art. He began creating "yard shows" displaying his works on his front porch and into his home. Using predominately primary colors, he expressed his beliefs and emotions through abstract works, each color having consistent meaning. Though he could not read or write, he created his own cursive writing inscribed in many of his works called "spirit writing" which he was able to read through a glass bottle he called "holy water" while praying. His body of work reveals his experience as an African American in the rural south with a unique faith and a surreal imagination.

The Collection of Dr. Joe Newsom Rawlings, Davisboro, Georgia; acquired directly from the artist.


1st item: Flaking to paint on back of board, front with light wear and some grime, slight scratching along the lower edge, possibly in the medium. 2nd item: Overall toning, fold line to center, and tape burns. 3rd item: As found condition. One end of paper towel roll not used and is crumpled.