Purvis Young communicated a social message with his work, depicting poverty, crime, and other issues he was exposed to in his community of Miami (Overtown), FL. Young often painted on found items, including doors, cardboard and pieces of wood. His art helped him turn his life around after serving a term in prison for breaking and entering in the mid-1960’s. After his release, he continue drawing, many times glue his art onto discarded wood or books. He is very well known for his Goodbread Alley mural in Miami, which evidently, was his first paintings experience after seeing the Wall of Respect in Chicago, IL. Part gallery/part public art, he would continuously rotate paintings made from found object. His first major collection, millionaire Bernard Davis, found his mural, purchased several pieces, and launched his career.
Young’s work can be seen in the collections of Washington D.C.’s Corcoran Gallery of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, etc. His art has been shown in galleries and museums across the U.S. and Europe.
A collection of nine works by well-known self-taught artist Purvis Young was acquired from a private collector in New York. These nine works by Young were added to the collection of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in 2010.
A major collector, Daniel Aubry approached Kohler Foundation about a donation of paintings by Purvis Young in 2017. The University of Nevada Reno expressed interest and we were able to gift a nice collection of ten paintings to UN Reno for their permanent collection.