Creating Connections

GBP £40.00



ISBN: 978-1-913875-41-1

176 pages

265 x 240 mm, (9 ½ x 10 ½ in)

120 colour illustrations

In association with the Cincinnati Art Museum

June 2023


A lavishly illustrated publication which explores an exceptionally diverse array of work by self-taught artists with wide-ranging backgrounds and motivations.

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Creating Connections features over 70 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and watercolors from the Rosenthal Collection of work by self-taught artists. This richly illustrated publication explores the mysterious connections we have with works of art and examines the journey into the meaning of art for its creators. It looks at the historic approaches to the creations of self-taught artists and the problems inherent in their interpretation. It also considers where we should go to achieve a more equitable and inclusive art history.

The Rosenthal Collection comprises a significant and notably varied grouping. Not only does it cover a broad mix of US names including Earl Cunningham, Henry Darger, Thornton Dial, Bill Traylor, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Ralph Fasanella, Martin Ramírez, and Janet Sobel, it also includes non-US artists Carlo Zinelli, Hiroyuki Doi, Adolf Wölfli, Donald Pass, and Nek Chand among others. Jean Dubuffet, the French painter who famously promoted their study, is also featured.

An illustrated interview by Julie Aronson with Richard Rosenthal provides special insight into the collector who has brought together this exceptionally diverse array of work. Essays by Olivia Sagan and Charles Russell look at the need for a more nuanced approach to these artists and their work, at the history of its appreciation (including terminology such as “Outsider Art”), and examine the work in the context of autobiography, trauma, connection, and remembering.

Author biographies

Editor and contributor Dr. Julie Aronson is curator of American paintings, sculpture, and drawings, Cincinnati Art Museum.

Olivia Sagan (MA, PhD, MBACP, CPsychol, AFBPsS, SFHEA), is professor, head of division of psychology, sociology and education, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

Charles Russell, is professor emeritus of English and American studies at Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey, where he was director of American studies and associate director of the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience.

Table of Contents

  • Director’s Foreword by Cameron Kitchin
  • Acknowledgments by Julie Aronson
  • A Conversation with Richard Rosenthal by Julie Aronson
  • Graceful Mysteries by Olivia Sagan
  • Instinctive Drive, Collective Connection: Reflections on the Rosenthal Collection by Charles Russell
  • Main Presentation of artworks
  • Checklist of the Exhibition
  • Bibliography
  • Photo Credits
  • Index