George Widener

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George Widener (born February 8, 1962 in Cincinnati, Ohio [1])[1] is a self-taught artist who employs his extraordinary mathematical/calculating capability to create art ranging from complex calendars and numerical palindromes to Rembrandt-like antiquarian landscapes to Asian scrolls.


His work can be found in many private and public Outsider Art collections, including the Bruno Decharme ABCD Collection in Paris, The American Folk Art Museum, The Art Collection of the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute, and The Collection de l’Art Brut. Widener has exhibited at the Jan Krugier Gallery, Salon du Dessins Contemporain, Kunsthaus Kannen (Münster), the Islands of Genius exhibition (for prodigious savants) and others, and shows at the New York Outsider Art Fair, when New York Times art critic Roberta Smith proclaimed that the artist was “one of the Outsider Art Fair’s most significant recent discoveries”.[2] George is also the subject of a recently published (2009) book The Art of George Widener by Roger Cardinal.[3] Speaking at an October 2008 hallmark event organized under the auspices of the Royal Society and the British Academy on the subjects of autism and creativity, Cardinal illustrated and detailed the 'truly visionary alternative worlds of George Widener".[4]

George Widener lives in the mountain town of Waynesville, North Carolina and travels abroad frequently. He is represented in London by the Henry Boxer Gallery and in New York City by the Ricco/Maresca Gallery.

Selected exhibitions[edit]

  • Jan Krugier (New York)*
  • Kunsthaus Kannen (Munster)*
  • Salon du Dessins Contemporain (Paris)*
  • New York Outsider Art Fair *
  • The Islands of Genius Exhibition (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; for prodigious savants)
  • Secret Universe IV, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin 2013[5]
  • 'Alternative Guide to the Universe', Hayward Gallery, London, 2013


  1. ^ Darold A. Treffert, Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired, and Sudden Savant (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2010) p179
  2. ^ Continuing the Robert Smith article from “Untamed Art From the Fringes Is a Gust of Bracing Air", The New York Times, January 28, 2005,
    "And at Henry Boxer, on a par with the work of Dû-Glass, by which I mean high, are the drawings of George Widener, a British mathematical savant in his 40's, who covers surfaces made of tea-stained paper napkins with profusions of numbers and words. The most magnificent of these reviews the sinking of the Titanic in considerable detail."
  3. ^ It was Cardinal who, in 1972, coined the term "Outsider Art" as an English translation of the French term "Art Brut" (meaning "raw" or "rough" art).
  4. ^ See The Psychologist News, Talent and Autism
  5. ^ Das Datum ist dem Genius sein Code (German for "The date is the genius' code"), Exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin 2013, report at (german)

External links[edit]