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John Englehart was institutionalized as a child. He spent much of his life isolated from the world at large and was virtually uncommunicative. One day, in a South Baltimore nursing home, he reached for a marker and sheet of paper provided by recreation aide/artist Anne Watts. The 81-year-old Englehart, who’d never shown an interest in art, drew a windmill and, to Watts’ astonishment, spoke about what he’d drawn.

     A steady stream of drawings, paintings, and more talking followed. As the artwork flowed and a friendship blossomed, Englehart thrived. His work elicited comparisons to Paul Klee and was exhibited alongside paintings by Mose Tolliver and Howard Finster.

      John Englehart: Paintings & Drawings 1989-1991 gathers, for the first time, a robust selection of his creative output. The 124-page, full-color book can be ordered here. The book also functions as a companion to Englehart, the 2023 album by Watts and Charles Emmett Freeman, and includes the complete song lyrics and credits. The eight-song CD of original music inspired by Englehart's life and legacy can be ordered here.

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