Stephen Palmer "Sacrificial Love Society"

Ricco/Maresca Gallery

poster for Stephen Palmer "Sacrificial Love Society"

This event has ended.

Stephen Palmer (1882-1965) produced a massive record of Christian faith in the guise of roughly four hundred known and recently discovered gouache paintings on paper. As private devotional works, they demonstrate the layered complexity and subversive potential of religious imagery. As artifacts uncovered, they speak about an era. As a collective effort, they hold clues to reconstructing the psychology and motivations of an individual.

Although Palmer’s death certificate indicates that he was born in New York State, no record of his birth exists there. It is likely that the notation on the death certificate is in error. Palmer had no next of kin to confirm or deny the information. Probably born in Illinois, he was documented living in a men’s lodging house in Minnesota by at least 1900. By 1910, he was staying in Eau Claire, Wisconsin with his mother and older brother. He spent his adult life, through the 1930s, moving around logging camps in the Mid-West and died of a stroke in a Minnesota hospital in 1965.

Based on his French-Canadian heritage, one can speculate that Palmer was exposed to Roman Catholicism in his youth. At the end of his life he was buried in a single plot at the Catholic Calvary Cemetery in Mankato, MN. In the interim, Palmer sustained but complicated his connection to the Catholic Church by affiliation with fringe home-based worship groups and self-proclaimed visionaries. These break off sects and religious fanatics provided a social network for Palmer and he drew a small circle of faithful to listen to his own visions and prophecies. His paintings, like his practices, are rooted in Catholicism but take unsanctioned deviations.



from December 06, 2008 to January 11, 2009

Opening Reception on 2008-12-06 from 17:00 to 19:00


Stephen Palmer

  • Facebook


    All content on this site is © their respective owner(s).
    New York Art Beat (2008) - About - Contact - Privacy - Terms of Use