Fashions 1887

Edwin Lawson (1911-1980)
Crayon, pencil on paper
Circa: 1977
Size: 17 1/2" x 23 1/2" (sight) / 23 1/4" x 29 1/4" (framed)
Edwin Lawson, a professor of architecture who died in 1980, left behind a cache of drawings he created in the 1970s that revealed a fantasy world his wife was unaware of. The large-scale pencil and crayon drawings illustrate Lawson cross-dressed as a woman in historic fashions from the 1880s to the 1960s.

The works were likely personal fantasies versus actualized events. Lawson heavily worked the drawings and struggled to correct certain details that he dreamed about, like his made up eyes, lips, jewelry, and bosom.

In the 1960s and 70s drag culture was becoming less underground. In the alternative arts and fashion scenes, figures like Divine, music by Bowie and Bolan, and movies like The Rocky Horror Picture Show brought gender-bending more into the zeitgeist.

However, that does not mean it was mainstream and culturally safe. Lawson probably felt inspired by the drag scene but still too uncomfortable to fully manifest his sexual identity at a time when it would likely threaten his relationships and his career.

In 2017, The Museum of Sex featured Lawson's work in Known/Unknown: Private Obsession and Hidden Desire in Outsider Art, and currently Lawson is shown at The Smithsonian in, We Are Made of Stories: Self-Taught Artists in the Robson Family Collection.

Provenance: Ricco/Maresca Gallery


Condition: Excellent.

Price: SOLD