Bill Traylor was born in 1853—into slavery—in Alabama. After the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation he became a sharecropper. In 1939, at the age of 85 and without any training, Traylor became an artist. His imagery is arrestingly spare, profoundly direct, and strangely enchanted. He died at 95 and in that last radiant decade produced approximately 1,200 drawings. A don’t-miss exhibition. —L.J.
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