“When a man works steadily and faithfully for sixty years, idleness is an unwanted stranger.”
— John Scholl, as cited by Adele Earnest
Extending outward in all directions, this exuberant Sunburst by John Scholl seems to radiate with a multitude of creative possibilities. After a lifetime working as a carpenter, the German-born immigrant to Pennsylvania took up sculpture in the early 20th century when he was in his 80s. For over a decade, Scholl made approximately forty-five works of art, leaving behind the utilitarian aspect of his profession to revel in the pure pleasure of creation. His sculpture evokes a sense of dazzling abundance and deep satisfaction in craftsmanship, reiterated through multiple layers of symmetry, pattern, and embellishment.
Scholl showed his sculpture within the community during his lifetime; however, not long after his death, his body of work would lie forgotten in storage for many years. In the 1960s, Adele Earnest and Cordelia Hamilton, both founders of the American Folk Art Museum, would bring the artist to the attention of collectors after rediscovering a cache of his creations in a crowded barn in Pennsylvania.