Hindman to Auction Outsider Collection of Intuit Co-Founder Susann Craig
Hindman announced they will present art from the estate of Susann Craig, esteemed outsider art collector and a founder of Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art in Chicago, in a single-owner auction on March 9th. A champion of boundless creativity, Craig’s legacy cannot be understated. Roadside Attractions: The Susann Craig Collection, Chicago, IL will showcase her personal collection of more than 300 paintings, mobiles, and statues occupying her Logan Square loft designed by Jeanne Gang. The auction will be presented at a significant time of growth for Intuit, with the museum currently in the midst of planning for an expansion project. A portion of the proceeds of the auction will benefit Intuit.
“Susann was a beloved force in the Chicago art world. Not only did she have a foundational role at Intuit, but she also cultivated incredible friendships and brought her creative spirit to all aspects of her life,“ commented Zack Wirsum, Hindman Director & Senior Specialist of Post-War & Contemporary Art. “It is Hindman’s great pleasure to bring Susann’s passionately curated collection to market, and to share with the world her visionary life’s work.”
Born in Youngstown, Ohio, Craig made her way to Chicago following her undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. From an early age, Craig had an entrepreneurial spirit, which led her to open multiple stores, beginning with The Gallery, Ltd in the Champaign area. Upon moving to Chicago, Craig worked as director of The Dorothy Rosenthal Gallery and taught at Columbia College, Chicago. In the1980s, Craig opened and managed The Susann Craig Showroom in Apparel Center. During her 30 years operating the Showroom, Craig represented a range of emerging designers.
With a strong sense of whimsy and a generous spirit, Craig was most passionate about meeting people and discovering unique art wherever she went. From an early age, she demonstrated an eagerness to connect with and learn about others, which may have led her to seek out overlooked arts voices. In 1991, this passion led her to assist in founding Intuit, where she would serve on the board of directors for 29 years before being named as a life trustee in 2020. Craig was also awarded the museum’s highest honor in 2018, the Visionary Award. Since its founding, the museum has played a critical role in the promotion of folk and outsider art.
“Susann was incredibly passionate about Intuit from its very beginning, and she made it her mission for 30 years to use her powers as a people connector to introduce and engage all kinds of folks across the city and country with the museum. Her energy and enthusiasm for the organization were boundless—part of the personality of the place—and the staff and board team miss her smiles and laughter every day,” said Debra Kerr, Intuit President and CEO.
Craig developed an impressive collection of folk and outsider art. Showcasing the breadth and depth of her collection, this sale will feature art highlights such as Roger Brown’s 1989 Crossing the Bandiagara Escarpment With Baobab Trees and Dogon Dancers (estimate: $60,000-80,000), Sister Gertrude Morgan’s Untitled (Lazarus) (estimate: $5,000-7,000), Jesse Howard’s A Man Said... (estimate: $2,000-4,000), and much more. Celebrated Chicago artist names in the collection also include Gladys Nilsson, Lee Godie, Nick Cave, and Wesley Willis. An eclectic mix of folk art and craft highlights, including textiles and carved wood figures, will also be presented.
“My mother was always on the hunt, and her collection is the result of a lifetime of adventure,” shared Craig’s daughter Amy Coleman.“Her favorite way to roll was ‘off the beaten path,’ and she never returned empty handed. More importantly, she wanted everyone to delight in her discoveries too. She described her Logan Square loft as a ‘beautiful memory jar’ full of magnificent stories, each reminding her of the creative and peculiar people she’d met and the hilarity of her collecting escapades.”
Craig’s daughter Jennifer Knight expands on how her mother took every opportunity possible to uncover distinct items: “One summer in Northern Michigan, my sister and I got strep throat, so, mom cracked the windows, flattened the back seat of our station wagon and headed for the county hospital. Per usual, there had been a ‘slight detour.’ We were at the Chippewa reservation miles off route, where the annual Powwow was in full force. As the car door slammed shut, we heard, ‘I’ll be right back!’ She eventually returned with quite a haul and packed the car with her newly acquired treasures exclaiming with delight to her two highly annoyed and feverish daughters, ‘how lucky are we?!’”
New York Preview | How to Bid
A New York preview of the auction will take place at High Line Nine Galleries (507 West 27th Street, Gallery 1) from March 2-5, coinciding with the Outsider Art Fair, which Hindman is pleased to be sponsoring this year. A selection of works from the collection will be available for preview on Outsider Art Fair’s digital platform.
Bidding for the auction will begin at 10am CT on March 9th, and will be available in-person at Hindman’s Chicago saleroom, and online via Hindman’s Digital Bid Room. Additional information about the auction can be found here.
Founded in 1991, Intuit is a premier museum of outsider and self-taught art, defined as work created by artists who faced marginalization, overcame personal odds to make their artwork, or who did not, or sometimes could not, follow a traditional path of art making, often using materials at hand to realize their artistic vision. By presenting a diversity of artistic voices, Intuit builds a bridge from art to audiences. The museum’s mission is grounded in the ethos that powerful art can be found in unexpected places and made by unexpected creators.