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Marvin Finn

Marvin Finn was born in Clio, Alabama. He learned to carve as a child by watching his sharecropper father. When he was grown, he joined one of his nine brothers in Hazard, Kentucky. He then moved to the Louisville area in 1944 and remained there throughout the rest of his life.

After he married Helen Breckenridge in 1952, Finn began making toys for his children. These toys included intricate machines with moving parts. After Helen’s death in 1966, Finn continued to make toys as a way to work through his grief.

Later in his career, he made painted wood sculptures, and he is likely best known for his brightly painted plywood roosters and geese. Whenever possible, Finn made use of inexpensive and recycled materials. In his later years, Finn developed a devoted following in Louisville and in the broader folk art community.


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