May 13, 2014–January 8, 2017

Houses and Two Hundred Animals

John Podhorsky (dates unknown) Encoders

Auburn, California

c. 1950s

Pencil, colored pencil, and crayon on paper

24 x 35 1/2"

Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York

Blanchard-Hill Collection, gift of M. Anne Hill and Edward V. Blanchard Jr., 1998.10.37

Photo by Gavin Ashworth

John Podhorsky (dates unknown)

Houses and Two Hundred Animals

The few known works by John Podhorsky were revealed by Dr. Tarmo Pasto, a psychologist and professor of art at California State University in Sacramento, who is better known for his involvement with artist Martín Ramírez. Podhorsky apparently was a patient at DeWitt State Hospital in Auburn, where Pasto was active. Little information exists on the artist, but it has been stated that he may have been a carpenter in California during the 1950s. In his hermetic and condensed artworks, animals, bridges, houses, and machines seem to float in multilayered and multidimensional landscapes. Keywords and indecipherable sentences surround every subject, possibly standing as reminders for future projects to be realized, or as depictions from direct observation. Most of the motifs in this work are displayed in pairs, like the two fancily dressed women mounted on spotted horses hunting birds and beasts with their bows and arrows.

Valérie Rousseau, “Houses and Two Hundred Animals,” 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.