IN PLAIN SIGHT • With walls two stories tall, Harriet Finkelstein can
bring her collection of work by self-taught artists to new heights
Harriet Finkelstein was comfort-
ably ensconced in a condominium
in Boston’s South End in 2004 when
she casually dropped by an open
house in a neighboring building for
a “lookie loo.”
“The first thing I saw was this
two-story living room,” she recalls.
“That was Sunday. By Wednesday,
I had made the winning bid!”
As any rapacious art collector
knows, nothing is more coveted
than wall space. And with 14
years of collecting under her belt,
Finkelstein has learned to act fast
when she stumbles on the perfect
thing — be it art or real estate.
Today, in the Tremont Street condo
she now calls home, she has found
a splendid setting for her extensive collection by self-taught artists
(she prefers that term to outsider
artists, which she considers pejorative), featuring such luminaries
as Martin Ramirez, Bill Traylor,
William Dawson, Minnie Evans,
Malcah Zeldis, Henry Ray Clark,
and Nellie Mae Rowe. Her collection has grown to more than 300
works and graces every room in her
1,485-square-foot two-level unit.
The art is exuberant, audacious,
and bold. The condo itself is cool,
harriet finkelstein, wearing a tunic based on art by Anderson Johnson, visits with a guest on her garden steps. Most of the work above the doors is Southern folk art.