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About Kermit Oliver

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For more than 40 years, Kermit has painted nature and myth-inspired portraits and landscapes rooted in his life as a native Texan, earning public recognition while carefully guarding his privacy. After nearly a quarter of a century, he continues to be the only American artist to be commissioned each year by Hermès to create designs for its renowned silk scarves.

In 2005, Curator Alvia J. Wardlaw and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston mounted a major retrospective of his work and life. Nine years later there is a new generation who is not familiar with his work, and this exhibition gives everybody an opportunity to honor not only his paintings and drawings but also his significant place in the history of art in Texas.

A self-described “recluse”, Kermit sorted mail on the night shift in a Waco, Texas post office (recently retiring on August 31, 2013) and continues to paint by day. His paintings blend contemporary and classical elements inspired by his rural Texas heritage with his study of mythology, religion, and history.

Born in 1943 in Refugio, Texas, Kermit Oliver is the son and grandson of African-American working cowboys. He enrolled in Texas Southern Universityin 1960, majoring in art and education. He married Katie Washington in 1962 and graduated in 1967 with a BFA and teaching certificate. Throughout college Kermit was nurtured by a popular professor and previous ALH Texas Artist of the Year recipient, John Biggers, a legendary mentor to many younger African American artists. In his junior year, he attended an artist seminar class conducted by Willem de Kooning’s wife, Elaine de Kooning, at Rice University.

Oliver's work is part of the permanent collections at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Museum of Fine Art, Houston; The Dallas Museum of Fine Art; The San Antonio Museum of Art; The El Paso Museum; Art Museum of Southeast Texas; The Arkansas Arts Center, and is among prestigious corporate collections such as Phillip Morris, Texas Gulf, and House of Hermes, Paris. Kermit Oliver has been represented by Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Inc. in Houston, Texas since 1988.

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Fire in the Wood: I Heard An Owl Call My Name, 2014
Acrylic on paper
Work: 12.75 x 18.75 in (32.39 x 47.63 cm)
Frame: 21 x 27 x 1.25 in (53.34 x 68.58 x 3.18 cm)
Courtesy of artist and Hooks Epstein Galleries

Online bidding for this work ended on October 13, 2017 at 11:00pm ET.

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Kermit Oliver
Fire in the Wood: I Heard An Owl Call My Name
  • Dimensions
    12.75 x 18.75 in (32.39 x 47.63 cm)