First published: Fall 2016
In the foyer of artist and collector Mike Noland’s two-storey, wood-frame house is a small, carved wooden table with a marble top that belonged to stone carver E. Popeye Reed (1919–1985). Reed used it as his desk.
Noland, who lives in a small town northwest of Chicago, also saved a carved wooden door from Reed’s deteriorating home.
Michael Noland stands alongside one of his paintings
When Noland was a graduate art student at Ohio State University in the early 1980s, he became friends with woodcarver Elijah Pierce (1892–1984), painter William Hawkins (1895–1990) and Reed. “I had this very rich introduction to this art”, he said. “It was almost like fate or destiny that I would be in Ohio and be able to hang out with them“, he said. Noland said he has begun to think about which museum might have his collection down the road. “I’m very blessed to have known these artists”, said Noland. “I knew they were important people.”
Nearly all of the walls in Noland’s house are packed, salon-style. Shelves hold sculptures and objects by anonymous artists. Large drawings by Martín Ramírez flank a picture window. Certain works stand out – like the large sandstone carving of an angel by Reed, and the carved bowling-trophy case made by an unknown artist and filled with carvings by William Dawson (1901–1990). Noland veered away from collecting solely American artists a few years ago when he added a piece by Swiss artist Francois Burland (b. 1958).