9/11: The South Tower
Origin: America, Virginia, Virginia Beach
Unframed: 40 x 30in. (101.6 x 76.2cm) and Framed: 44 7/16 x 34 7/16 x 1 3/4in.
Museum Purchase, Dr. and Mrs. T. Marshall Hahn, Jr. Fund
Acc. No. 2010.101.1
A cityscape showing two skyscrapers with yellow-orange flames and black smoke billowing from them, a shorter building at far left, a brown suspension bridge in the foreground and, behind them all, a bright blue sky dotted with falling debris.
The 2-inch, splayed, stained wood frame "floats" the painting and was applied by Childs Gallery, Boston, Mass., immediately after the Museum's acquisition of the picture.
Label:Folk artists have never avoided tough subjects. Betty Herbert tackled one of the most horrifying in rendering the September 11, 2001, suicide plane bombing of the South Tower of New York City's World Trade Center.
Herbert began painting in 1983 after learning that her husband was terminally ill. Others have encouraged her over the years, but she basically taught herself to paint and usually works at home alone. The creative process possesses her at times, as suggested by her observations on the generation of some of her earliest pictures. She notes, "subjects were free thrown from my head without conscious awareness of what I was doing. Images appeared whenever I looked into the canvas as though already there and I simply revealed them gladly."
After Herbert's husband's death, she began exploring war themes, branching out from World Wars I and II to the American Revolution, 9/11, and hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. 9/11: The South Tower is an excellent example of her spontaneous, direct, and uninhibited application of paint and her extraordinarily bold use of color. It is the first twenty-first century painting to be acquired by the Folk Art Museum.
Provenance:Childs Gallery, Boston, Mass.