Steven S. Powers: The Design His Own - Winter 2021 Launch

  • BROOKLYN, New York
  • /
  • January 27, 2021

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Hudson River Bridge, Joseph Roth (1851?–1921) Textile embroidery on linen Circa: 1906 Size: 12 1/2" (h) x 24" (w)
Steven S. Powers
Attributed to Richard Nisbett (1753-1823) / Indian Encampment / Watercolor on paper / Circa: 1822 / Size: 13" (w) x 7 3/4" (h).
Steven S. Powers
Rare Cuir Bouilli Figural Case / Tooled leather, wood, paint / Italy or France / Circa: 16th century. / Size: 11 1/8 (h)" x 4" (d).
Steven S. Powers

Steven S. Powers is pleased to present their Winter 2021 Catalogue, "The Design His Own." This 156-page online catalog features recent finds in Outsider and Self-Taught Art with a few additions of American Folk Art, including works by Carlo Zinelli, John Kane, Joseph Roth, Richard Nisbett, Moses Ogden, George Silsbee, etc.

The catalogue title, "The Design His Own," is a curiously worded phrase and not one I had read before. Dr. John Pennington Hopkinson wrote these words on a watercolor that he collected in 1822. But the words are wise and impart, to me at least, something more than a casual comment of credit. More so, Hopkinson wrote on the work, "Painted by a maniac confined in the cells of the Alms House — the design his own." Hopkinson felt compelled to make a special note and credit the artist that it was something he created from his imagination—not something borrowed or copied.

All the works in the catalogue are "designs of their own," as it were. At the time of their creation, something new that the world had never seen. As time goes on, spouses, siblings, relatives, neighbors, communities, whole populations sift through what stays and what goes. What gets destroyed or what is saved. When you throw something away, someone else may keep it, and it is sifted through another keeper. "One man's trash..." It lives another day.

Original works span over 500 years. Highlights include a watercolor, dated 1822, which is likely the earliest American asylum drawing in private hands and attributed to Richard Nisbett, two extraordinary embroideries by Joseph Roth, works by American self-taught master John Kane, a collection of works by Moses Ogden, a 17th century silver pomander in the shape of a skull, and a remarkable 16th century tooled leather case in the form of an African-European man. Discover more today at

Steve Powers
Steven S Powers

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