The lives and work of Bill Traylor and William Edmondson share fascinating parallels despite a twenty-year age gap and the fact that they never met. Major figures in American and African-American art history, both were born into poverty in the South and began creating art as older men after working for decades as physical laborers. In 1937 Edmondson was the first African American artist to have a one-man exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Traylor, a draftsman, and Edmondson, a sculptor, both created figurative work inspired by their surroundings or people they knew and employed abstract forms and simplified compositions. By considering their art together, this volume examines the aesthetic connections between their works within the framework of modernism. Josef Helfenstein is director of the Menil Collection and Roxanne Stanulis is a former curator, both at the Krannert Art Museum. Contributors include Margaret Lynne Ausfeld, Lisa Gaye Dixon, Kerry James Marshall, Jordana Mendelson, M. Cynthia Oliver, Nichole T. Rustin, and Lowery Stokes Sims.