"Harris invited me to a gallery show this past January," says Lyndon Irwin. "I thought if he sold one of the drawings for $200, I would have bought one. I would have looked like a country clod, a hillbilly from Missouri!" He laughs. "That is why I did not need to own those pictures."

For Bean and Diamant, it's not about the money.

"What happens with an artist?" Bean muses. "We all have our ways of communicating. Some of us use language; some of us use imagery. What is human is the drive to connect and create. In whatever way Edward was stymied in his free expression, by the damage done from treatment or the damage done from abuse, he poured something significant into those drawings. Harris described them as like coming across cave drawings. It's his own personal language he's expressing himself with. In that way it's very poignant."

Drawing by Edward Deeds.
Courtesy Harris Diamant & Neville Bean
Drawing by Edward Deeds.
Deeds filled his work with images of his private obsessions — including geography, toy boats, the Civil War and circuses.
Courtesy Harris Diamant & Neville Bean
Deeds filled his work with images of his private obsessions — including geography, toy boats, the Civil War and circuses.

Diamant says he remains particularly struck by the condition of the book's binding. Though Deeds' nieces would recall their mother keeping the volume in pristine condition, when the Texan who'd found it in the dump at age fourteen finally parted with it, the cover was extremely worn and faded. But it wasn't the type of wear that comes from rough handling.

It looked like it had been held close to a person," Diamant says. "There was power in that album."

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6 comments
albrechtschnabel
albrechtschnabel

Thank you for the wonderful article! To me, it shows how *hard* life was as a very sensitive young man with a brutal, non-understanding father about 80 years ago. Sad life, in some ways, and still, now he has found some very-late recognition, and his soul, likely, will be happy about the late recognition, maybe. - Albrecht Schnabel Munich.

asfleming1
asfleming1

Great article! Sounds like Deeds' work would fit right in at the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

AliceWonderRed
AliceWonderRed

@aimeelevitt Loved your article #longread @anniezaleski

aimeelevitt
aimeelevitt

@AliceWonderRed @anniezaleski Thank you so much!

 
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