It’s a great pleasure when a museum moves away from the cannon to investigate the life’s work of an unknown. An even greater surprise when that artist is untrained. Folk art carving consistently pleases, so the High Museum’s new exhibition The Treasure of Ulysses Davis is a winner. Davis was born in 1913 and died 1990. During his working years he carved in his spare time away from the barber’s chair. He carved the busts of 41 presidents, historical and biblical figures, and fantastic beasts. Most importantly, he rarely sold his work, treasuring each piece. He wished his collection to be kept in take, and after his death the King-Tisdale Cottage Foundation in Savannah, GA acquired it. This exhibition at the High is the largest and most comprehensive showing of Davis’ work to date. Antiques and the Arts has a thorough biography of Davis this week, and the exhibition is complemented by a catalog.

The Treasure of Ulysses Davis is on view until April 15, 2009.

A few of Davis’ treasures after the jump.

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