Smithsonian American Art Museum Acquisition

Idaho native James Castle recorded personal views of his home ground between roughly 1910 and 1970. His drawings, predominantly done with a homemade soot-based ink on found paper and cardboard, depict farm scenes and the surrounding countryside with a remarkable stillness. Castle also constructed small objects–doll-like figures, birds, and other household items–using sewn-together cardboard. Castle lived with family his entire life, but deafness and an inability to communicate with writing or signing fated him to a lifetime of silent introspection and observation. Castle’s art was his personal language, and his paper sculptures, perspectival views of his surrounding landscape, and depictions of himself making art, speak volumes about a self-defined realm.

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