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Witch on a Broomstick Whirligig
Artist unidentified

Location: New England, United States

Date: Late nineteenth century

Materials: Paint on wood with twigs and metal

Dimensions: 12 1/4 × 12 1/4 × 5 1/4"

Credit: Gift of Leo and Dorothea Rabkin

Accession Number: 1987.13.1

Photo credit: John Parnell

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Description

Unlike metal weathervanes, which have been commercially produced from molds since the mid-nineteenth century, most whirligigs continue to be handmade and often express the interests and ingenuity of their makers. The most basic whirligig type is a single figure with either paddle arms or a propeller. This whirligig is simple in construction, comprising a brightly painted elemental figure with a propeller at the front. Its interest is derived primarily from the unusual imagery of a witch riding a broomstick, the witch appearing to fly around when the propeller is turned by the wind. Although mythological images were not uncommon in weathervanes, witches were infrequent subjects of American folk art in any medium.

Stacy C. Hollander, "Witch on a Broomstick Whirligig," in American Anthem: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum (New York: Harry N. Abrams in association with American Folk Art Museum, 2001), 356.


Witch on a Broomstick Whirligig
Date: Late nineteenth century
Artist:
Dimensions: 12 1/4 × 12 1/4 × 5 1/4"
Materials: Paint on wood with twigs and metal
Credit Line: Gift of Leo and Dorothea Rabkin
Place/Region: United States
Accession Number: 1987.13.1
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