Untitled (sand art), 1884

Andrew Clemens (1852 or 1857-1894)

McGregor, Iowa

Sand, glass

Gift of Charles D. Flagg; 2012.5

Samuel Clemens was a deaf artist who supported himself by selling bottled sand compositions to the tourists of the Mississippi River. He sifted the sand by hand from unique sandstone deposits on the banks of the river. His compositions are layered by hand, using tools he fashioned from hickory wood, and retain their fragile designs without any glue. Clemens is now considered one of the finest folk artists of this unique medium in the country.