National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Adam and Eve Adam and Eve
Rendered by Yolande Delasser (artist), c. 1939
watercolor with white heightening over graphite on paper
overall: 45.5 x 50.4 cm (17 15/16 x 19 13/16 in.) Original IAD Object: 23" wide; 20" high
Index of American Design
1943.8.8096
Not on View
From the Tour: Pennsylvania German Folk Art from the Index of American Design
Object 16 of 23

Wood carving and whittling were favorite pastimes of men and boys in early America, and particularly in the Pennsylvania German region where wood was abundant. With only a small knife and a block of wood, amateur carvers created a variety of useful and decorative items for the home. This carved group of "Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden" was done by Wilhelm Schimmel. An itinerant carver of the mid-nineteenth century, he wandered throughout the southeastern counties of Pennsylvania exchanging his whittled animals and toys for a meal or a glass of rum. This unusual carving may have been a "Sunday toy" -- a toy with which children could play on Sundays when boisterous activity was not permitted. Schimmel carved each of the pieces in this group separately, then combined them and finished the work with oil color. While technically crude, Schimmel's carvings are treasured for their lively portrayal of his subjects.

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