Winfred Rembert, Cotton Pickers with Overseer
Featured in February Premier Auction,
February 3 & 4th, 2023
It was not a well paved path. In 1966, after a demonstration in Americus, Georgia, Rembert was arrested and put in jail without being charged. A year later, he escaped but was caught and hung up by a group of deputy sheriffs. They stuck him with a knife but did not kill and burn him as he had anticipated. He spent the next seven years in a chain gang. Remarkably, he met his wife while building roads and bridges in rural Georgia as part of his prison sentence. While in prison, a man named TJ taught him how to carve wallets out of leather, a skill that he would use decades later in his embossed leather paintings.
After his release, Rembert and Patsy married and they moved to New York, then Connecticut, where he worked a variety of jobs. Not until in his 50s after a second round in prison, did he begin to draw and paint the scenes of his youth, carving the stories into tactile leather canvases.
In 2000, Rembert had a well publicized show at the Yale University Art Gallery. In 2002, he was introduced to Peter Tillou after speaking about his artwork at a school in Waterbury, Connecticut. A short time later they agreed to a working relationship that included numerous exhibitions and his 2010 coming out show at Adelson Galleries in New York. His work has entered major museum and private collections.