Who Owns Mike Disfarmer’s Photographs?
Strangers made his small-town portraits famous in the art world. Decades later, his heirs want control of the estate.Link: https://www.newyorker.com/news/us-journal/who-owns-mike-disfarmers-photographs
Like many of Disfarmer’s relatives, Stewart had grown up poor, on a soybean-and-rice farm. As a teen-ager, he’d worn secondhand clothes and taped up old pairs of sneakers to save money for community college. “What really got to me was the thought of other people benefitting from our family, and the thought that they didn’t care,” he said. Disfarmer’s path to posthumous fame seemed to rely on a galling irony: art collectors had celebrated his portraits of modest Arkansans without sparing a thought for his modest Arkansan heirs.