The Road Less Traveled




Artist Dates



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Date of Work

ca. 1976


35mm slide, digitized 2020


James Smith Pierce Collection: Folk and Outsider Image Collection




UND Art Collections Repository

Artist Bio

Born in Brooklyn, New York, James Smith Pierce received his PhD in art history from Harvard University. During his career as a professor, Pierce also became an accomplished artist, whose artworks were included in important exhibitions (including a show on land art at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC) and books on contemporary earthworks and site-specific sculpture. Pierce was also a photographer, exhibition curator, and art collector.

Additional Information

E.T. Wickham, 1883-1970, is known for building life-sized statues out of concrete along Buck Smith Road in Palmyra, Tennessee. He only started to create his statues when he was 67 and had retired from work. The works pictured were created between 1950-1970. His statues feature famous people such as the Blessed Virgin Mary, Tecumseh the Native American chief, Alvin York, who was a World War I hero, and Andrew Jackson riding a horse. Wickham also built statues to honor local soldiers of Montgomery County, Tennessee, including his son, who died in the second world war.

During his time as an artist he built more than forty statues using only concrete, chicken wire, and rebar. Some of his statues still remain along the Buck Smith Road today despite vandalism and their constant exposure to the elements. He also has a statue of an angel that has remained in its original state to this day and watches over the Wickham family plot in the Wickham cemetery. Some of Wickham’s smaller pieces have been preserved by various institutions.

The heads of these statues have been destroyed from vandalism that has occurred over the years. This piece features the Liberty Bell, which is one of history’s most famous symbols of justice and freedom.

Image is provided for educational purposes only. © University of North Dakota. All rights reserved.

Condition Notes

35 mm slide in excellent condition.


Image Location