Thornton Dial, Sr. was born in Emmel, Alabama in 1928. Over a period of thirty years, he worked onand-off for the Pullman Standard Company, a company known for manufacturing metal railroad cars. Dial lives in Bessemer, Alabama where he is the patriarch of a clan of artists and an accomplished painter and sculptor.
All of Dial’s work emerges from a tireless mining of his own experience and of the events of our time. His use of materials – fencing, cow bones, corn stalks, scrap metal, pottery shards, birdbaths, clothing, stuffed animals, rope, carpet, and unusual combinations of paints and stains – renders his work by turns raw and lyrical.
revelations: art from the african american south, de young, fine arts museum of san francisco, san francisco, 2017.
arnett, wiliam and paul (eds.), souls grown deep: african american vernacular art from the south, volume 1. atlanta, georgia: tinwood books in association with schomburg center for research in black cultures, new york, 2000.
self-taught artists of the 20th century: an american anthology, new york, museum of american folk art, in association with chronicle books, san francisco, 1998.
thornton dial: image of the tiger, new york, harry n. abrams, 1993.
thornton dial in the 21st century, paul arnett, joanne cubbs, eugene w. metcalf jr., 2006.
l. danchin, m. lusardy et al., art outsider et folk art des collections de chicago, paris, 1998.
bill arnett, "thornton dial and the myth of america : gene metcalf explores a continuing controversy", raw vision n° 55.
- American Folk Art Museum, New-York (United States)
- High Museum of Art, Atlanta (United States)
- Treger Saint Silvestre collection, Porto (Portugal)
- Smithsonian Museum Of American Art, Washington (United States)
- New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans (United States)
- Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia (United States)
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art , New York (United States)
- Fine arts museums of San Francisco, San Francisco (United States)
- Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond (United States)
- Brooklyn museum, Brooklyn (United States)
- Dallas museum of art, Dallas (United States)
- The Morgan library & museum, New York (United States)
- Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis (United States)