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Black Moses: The Art of Rev. Albert Wagner

Now on Display

Cleveland History Center

Cleveland History Center

The Cleveland History Center houses diverse exhibits that narrate the history of Northeast Ohio through various collections of items, documents, and artifacts. It offers a sense of identity in our mobile society and a platform for learning about innovation and... more

Few artists receive the recognition they deserve during their lifetimes, but fewer poor artists and even fewer artists of color do. Wagner broke those barriers long before we woke to such a presence.

Reverend Albert Wagner is a globally recognized artist and part of a movement called “visionary” or “outsider” art. Outsider art is art created by untrained artists who are driven to their work by obsession, or in Albert Wagner’s case, divine revelation.

Wagner was born in 1924 in Bassett, Arkansas. At only ten years of age, he worked in the cotton fields as a water carrier. Then in 1941 he moved to Cleveland, Ohio with his family where he worked as a dishwasher before starting his own furniture moving company. It was on his 50th birthday that he experienced his divine revelation and reflected on his childhood dream to become an artist. Moving forward, God and art would change his life. Until his death on September 1, 2006 at age 83, he created over 3,000 paintings and sculptures. His work appears in private collections and museums throughout the world.

Learn more about this exhibit here.

Black Moses: The Art of Rev. Albert Wagner


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