Advanced Search

K-12 Educator
K-12 Student
Museum Visitor
UMMA Docent
UMMA Staff
University Faculty
University Student
Between and Mortarboard


UMMA Object Specific Fields






Query builder

Baby

Accession Number
2002/1.191

Title
Baby

Artist(s)
Jimmy Lee Sudduth

Object Creation Date
20th century

Medium & Support
pigmented sweet mud on plywood

Dimensions
24 1/2 in. x 12 3/16 in. ( 62.3 cm x 31 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of The Daniel and Harriet Fusfeld Folk Art Collection

Label copy
Jimmy Lee Sudduth
United States, 1910–2007
Baby
late 20th century
Pigmented sweet mud on plywood
Gift of the Daniel and Harriet Fusfeld Folk Art Collection, 2002/1.191
The son of a Native American medicine woman, Jimmy Lee Sudduth spent his childhood combing the woods for plants and herbs with his mother. At some point in their sojourns, the young Sudduth began to paint with mud on tree trunks. Decades later, Sudduth returned to his mud painting and discovered that mud would remain permanently on surfaces if combined with a form of sugar—what Sudduth came to call “sweet mud”—which Sudduth could mix in 36 different shades. By the 1980s, Sudduth also added latex and craft paints to his work, at the behest of collectors concerned with the long-term preservation of his works. Sudduth always painted with his fingers rather than a brush because, as he said, his fingers “don’t wear out.”
(Out of the Ordinary, 2010)
Jimmie Lee Sudduth perfected what has now been coined "sweet mud" painting. This mixture of mud and sugar water is the medium with which he paints. Other natural elements can be added to this mixture to create different pigments, for example grass and wild berries. The abundance of natural elements available gives Sudduth an unlimited supply of pigment choices. Among his peers Sudduth is thought of as the founding father of Alabama mud painting.
Sudduth grew up on a farm in Alabama, which is where most of his inspiration originates. Familiar people and places from the surrounding community were often used as subject matter. One such person could be Baby, most likely the image of someone he knew or with whom he came in contact. Sudduth grew up during hard times and being a black uneducated man in the South provided many challenges. Painting with a homemade mixture helped to fill his creative urges as well as his dream, which was as he stated "I'm gonna be fay-mous, fay-mous! I didn't learn much in school, just learned to write my name--Jim. But I believe I'd rather be famous, than rich or smart. I leave the drips so people know it's mine." Sudduth obtained his goal not only through his work but also with his unique "sweet mud" technique.
Denise Patterson
Modern and Contemporary Intern
2002

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
portrait

Additional Object Classification(s)
Painting

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
Figures
baby

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display