Jan Rosenak, wife of Chuck Rosenak, from Coral Gables, Florida, passed away on June 11, 2012. Jan and Chuck were the renowned authors of The Encyclopedia of 20th-Century American Folk Art and Artists, Contemporary American Folk Art, Navajo Folk Art: The People Speak, and The Saint Makers.

In the summer of 1986, my wife Sue and I went to Santa Fe on vacation. In a small restaurant on the Santa Fe trail, we met a local couple and began to chat. When Sue mentioned that we collected folk art, they invited us to their home to see their collection and introduced themselves as Jan and Chuck Rosenak.

 

Jan with Lee Godie

Jan and Chuck generously shared their wealth and knowledge. Jan was an expert in railroad law and was still doing special projects for the government. She always let Chuck have the limelight, but she was an equal partner in all that they did and gave to the field of the arts. The Encyclopedia of 20th-Century American Folk Art and Artists was a seminal event in the field of American outsider art, opening up the market by listing where artists lived. A large part of the couple’s folk art collection was acquired by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, ensuring their memory will be a lasting one in this field. Jan was a brilliant, radiant star. She will be missed.

 

by George Viener

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