The Newsboy

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The Newsboy, 1888
Carved, assembled, and painted wood with folded tin
42 × 20 × 11 in. (106.68 × 50.8 × 27.94 cm)
The Michael and Julie Hall Collection of American Folk Art M1989.125
Photo credit: John Nienhuis
Currently on View

In a striking departure from typical folk sculpture, this Newsboy exhibits dynamic motion that embodies the “hot off the presses” nature of the product he hawks. Captured on the run, his coat flapping and his mouth open to call out the news, this young boy is an example of this poorly paid but essential member of a profitable newspaper. Carved by an unknown artist, this sculpture is an early American advertisement. Delivering a clear message, work of this type is derived from British trade signs that sought to appeal to customers who could not read. This sign was made for the Pawtucket Record, a weekly paper published in Rhode Island between June 1886 and December 1890; the paper featured here is the November 13, 1888 issue.

Publication History
DiGirolamo, Vincent. Crying the News A History of America's Newsboys. 2019, p. 347, fig. 9.13, b&W illus.

Milwaukee Art Museum Insider, Winter 2013-14, cover, color illus.

Andera, Margaret, Nonie Gadsden, Britt Salvesen, and Laurie Winters. Collection Guide: Milwaukee Art Museum. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 2004, pp. 63, 74, cat. 107, color illus. p. 63.

Milwaukee Art Museum. Building a Masterpiece: Milwaukee Art Museum. New York: Hudson Hill Press, 2001, p. 222, color illus.

Folk Art Society of America. Folk Art Messenger. Richmond, Virginia: Folk Art Society of America, Winter 1998, p. 2, vol. 11, no. 1, b/w illus.

Hayes, Jeffrey Russell, Lucy R. Lippard, and Kenneth L. Ames. Common Ground/Uncommon Vision: The Michael and Julie Hall Collection of American Folk Art. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1993, p. 18, 29, 34, 36, 91, 131, cat. 30, b/w illus. p. 130, color pl. cover.

The Brookly Museum. Folk Sculpture USA. Brooklyn, New York: The Brooklyn Museum, 1976, cat. 46.
Exhibition History
Uncommon Folk: Traditions in American Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, January 29–May 4, 2014.

Common Ground/Uncommon Vision: The Michael and Julie Hall Collection of American Folk Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, April 16–June 20, 1993; Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, July 18–September 5, 1993; Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, November 12, 1993–Januray 2, 1994; Phoenix Art Museum, March 5–May 15, 1994; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, Delaware, June 10–September 4, 1994; Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center, Williamsburg, Virginia, October 3, 1994–January 2, 1995.

Folk Sculpture USA, The Brooklyn Museum, March 6–May 31, 1976, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, July 4–August 29, 1976.

This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.