Saturday, June 5, 2010

History of Tramp Art

Tramp Art was a popular form of folk art that flourished in America from the 1870's to the 1940's. It took many forms, mostly functional but some purely aesthetic: its creators notched, layered, and whittled picture frames, elaborate boxes, and even full-sized furniture pieces. The most common materials for making tramp art were cigar boxes and wood from disassembled crates.
The term "tramp art" was not used to identify this type of folk art until the 1950's, even though by then its production had all but stopped (largely, some think, because of a decline in cigar smoking and thus a decrease in the availability of cigar boxes). The lore persists that tramp art was made by wandering souls, largely anonymous, and that the fruits of their labors were bartered for food and shelter. Wile there is some truth to this, many who produced tramp art were skilled craftspeople who devoted major amounts of time to their creative pursuits. Most tramp art is unsigned and undated, adding to the mystique surrounding it.
(taken from

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