We are pleased to be able to offer for sale a selection of vintage vodou flags, bottles and other artifacts from the famed Virgil Young Collection. The late Virgil Young was a visionary collector, who collected the art and artifacts of Haitian Vodou at a time when few others were interested. He collected in Haiti, for the most part directly from the Vodou temples, from about 1980 to 1993. At this time, before the international art market had discovered the Vodou flag, and before such celebrated artists as Antoine Oleyant became widely known, it was still possible to obtain antique and vintage flags which were displayed or in use in the temples. Before his death Virgil Young sold a large part of his collection to the Fowler Museum of Cultural History at UCLA, and many were included in the ground-breaking exhibition (and accompanying book), The Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou. The heirs to another part of this collection have asked us to offer these pieces for sale.
The following is excerpted from a tribute to Virgil Young as part of "The Clock Series" of photographic portraits on the website of the late Glenn Shadix:
Virgil Young was born in Sledge Mississippi and grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. After high school Virgil got a job at Helen's of Memphis as a window dresser. This lasted long enough for him to earn the money he needed to move to New York City. In the late 1960's Virgil worked with artist Robert Indiana as an archivist as well as performing in a Charles Ludlam play with his band Virgil Young and The Younguns. I met Mr. Young when he moved to Hollywood in the late '70's. After moving back to Manhattan for a few years, Virgil returned to Hollywood in 1988 and moved into Ten Bungalows on Poinsettia Place above Melrose where I was living at the time. Virgil was instrumental in presenting Tim Burton's photographic work to the Los Angeles art community and eventually worked for Tim as an archivist.
He was an acknowledged authority on Haitian religious art and made numerous trips to Haiti where his relationships with various priests in Port au Prince and the surrounding countryside led him to build one of the best collections of Haitian religious art in America.... Virgil's art collection is now spread amongst his friends and The Haitian Collection was acquired by U.C.L.A. and is a part of "The Sacred Art Of Haitian Voodoo". This show was recently on display at Manhattan's Museum of Natural History after it's premiere at The Fowler Museum in L.A. In his last month in Los Angeles Virgil assisted Tim Burton on a large-format polaroid shoot in Death Valley. By 1995 Virgil was in declining health and decided to move back to his beloved "Chili Verde" (his home in the Hudson River Valley) where he died in June of that year. The shirt he is wearing in the photograph above was purchased for two dollars from a vendor on the streets of Port au Prince, Haiti in January of 1990.