May 13, 2014–January 8, 2017

Jefferson County, New York

c. 1876

Paint on wood with iron and brass

39 1/2 x 57 x 3 3/4"

Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York

Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill Jr. in honor of Neal A. Prince, 1962.1.1

Photo by John Parnell

Artist unidentified

Flag Gate

A creative mind transforms something as mundane as a farm gate into an artistic statement and an exclamation of patriotism. Probably made around the time of the American centennial, this gate in the form of an American flag proclaimed the maker’s pride in one hundred years of nationhood. Each of the stripes is separately carved in rippling waves so that the flag appears to be blowing in the breeze. The two sides differ slightly, with thirty-seven white stars on one side and thirty-eight on the other (the thirty-eighth state, Colorado, entered the Union in 1876). The gate may have been made for Robert Darling’s farm on Pulpit Road in the town of Antwerp, Jefferson County, New York.

Stacy C. Hollander, “Flag Gate,” exhibition label for Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum. Stacy C. Hollander and Valérie Rousseau, curators. New York: American Folk Art Museum, 2014.