Henry Faulkner Symposium Dedicated To The Artist's Ever Changing Fame

Henry Faulkner Symposium Dedicated To The Artist's Ever Changing Fame

It is hard to avoid being pigeonholed as an "eccentric" when your constant companion is a goat named Alice. Lexington artist Henry Faulkner's "outrageous" lifestyle has been abundantly documented. In a biography by http://www.finearteditions.net/product/the-gift-of-color-henry-lawrence-faulkner-paintings-poems-and-writings-limited-edition/ the late Charles House he is described as "a living, breathing twenty-4-hour-a-day work of art."

Tales of Faulkner's feats and flights of fancy will continue to flow into so long as there's someone to inform them and someone to listen. Even the British newspaper The Guardian referred curiously to his behavior in a 2006 obituary: Renowned Sicilian innkeeper Daphne Phelps "at all times discovered room for the best wayward Kentucky artist, Henry Faulkner, and his menagerie." Methodward?

But Faulkner's reputation is altering, say those behind an upcoming symposium dedicated to the person, the child, the phenomenon. Appreciation for his paintings continues to rise; Faulkner not is seen as merely a Lexington or Kentucky artist, "mannerward" or not.

Graydon Sikes, director of paintings at Cowan's Auction House in Cincinnati, says there's been a real uptick of curiosity prior to now eight to 10 years.

"I've a file of about 20 interested bidders who need to know when the artist's work comes up, and the fascinating thing is that half of them will not be positioned within the Midwest."

And the way Faulkner lived — unabashedly out of the closet while different homosexual men stayed cautiously inside — could be recognized in 2015 as ahead of its time.

"The world is catching up with Henry," says longtime buddy and student Bob Morgan. "Few of us who knew him would have thought he would have turn into so iconic." Now, "Henry's taste and style are synonymous with Lexington's style and style."

Morgan will moderate the symposium, a fundraiser for the nonprofit Transferable Feast, which prepares and delivers more than one hundred meals a day to these in Fayette County with HIV/AIDS and hospice clients.

The daylong event will naturally embrace the opportunity to review paintings and memorabilia up close, and to listen to loads of stories about Faulkner.

Morgan has made it his mission, since joining the board of Transferable Feast, to "put the 'fun' in fundraisers." Next month's three Sunday salon fundraisers are a part of that effort to enterprise outside the silent-public sale box. However the Aug. 29 symposium is organized round four speakers, each of whom will cover totally different points of Faulkner's life and artwork:

Pattie Hood, a Lexington jeweler and art appraiser, has handled his work for more than 30 years and is writing a book on the subject. Her presentation will use examples from different collections and periods, both paintings and details. Hood needs to help the audience find Faulkner's voice. "I want Henry to talk by way of his paintings," Hood says.

■ Writer Anne Shelby will discuss his early years, which have been largely spent in an orphanage in Louisville and a foster house in Clay County. "He left early, traveled broadly and moved in sophisticated circles, but his time in Japanese Kentucky had a profound affect on him and on his work," Shelby says.

■ Jean Donohue, director of the 2013 documentary The Last Gospel of the Pagan Babies, about Lexington's homosexual culture throughout the past century, will show special "director's cut" footage associated to Faulkner that hasn't been seen.

■ Jonathan Coleman, who teaches history and gender studies on the University of Kentucky, will discuss Faulkner's role as a pioneering homosexual artist and man — "the freedom, the bravado that made him unique."

Photographer and publisher John Hockensmith is an adviser to the symposium. He is working with Hood on the book of paintings and poetry, due out next 12 months and funded by one of many occasion's sponsors, First Southern National Bank. The Stanford-based bank lately invested in hundreds of Faulkners that had belonged to accountant Greene Settle, Faulkner's neighbor on Third Street.