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Case Auctions
Live Auction

2023 Fall Fine Art & Antiques (Day 2)

Sat, Oct 7, 2023 09:00AM EDT
Lot 309

Joe Light Outsider Art Painting, When You Live in the Ghetto

Estimate: $800 - $900

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$100 $25
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$100,000 $10,000

Joe Louis Light (Memphis, 1934–2005) enamel paint on Masonite outsider art painting depicting two fish, one yellow and one brown, flying beneath a blue cloud and above a stylized landscape with a tree, flower, and bird. Over the image painted text reads: "When you live in the ghetto, you will have to have good common sense to not be brain washed into having a ghetto mind, when you have the ghetto mind evilness becomes your way of life." Signed and dated "Joe Light," and "6/23/92," lower center. Additionally inscribed "Rosie Bee Light," lower right. Housed in a salvaged, plastic faux-wood mirror frame. Sight: 21" W x 37 1/2" H. Frame: 28 1/2" W x 50 1/4" H. Biography: "Joe Light was born in 1934 in Memphis, Tennessee. For most of his youth, Light worked on a farm before enlisting in the United States Army in 1951. He was discharged from the Army after suffering a self-inflicted wound and was later incarcerated on at least two occasions. Light's conversion to Judaism, during his second prison term, changed the course of his life. Possessed by the fervor of a convert, he began making signs, driftwood sculptures, and paintings that expressed his political and spiritual views." (Source: Jenifer P. Borum, Outsider Art Fair)


Painting in good condition, with horizontal abrasions under the orange text created in the making. Frame with wear and brown paint, likely also painted in the making.

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Bank: Pinnacle Bank
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Nashville, TN 37201
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Knoxville, TN 37909
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