Born in Alabama, Marvin Finn grew up in a large family. As toys were scarce, he began carving his own from a young age. Finn moved to Louisville after World War II where he started a family and continued carving toys for his own children. His wife, Lillian, would help him using an electric jigsaw to cut shapes he drew out of pieces of wood.
In addition to toys, Finn is known for carving animals such as roosters, and painting them with bold colors and patterns. He also built cranes, shovels, and bulldozers inspired by the Louisville dockyards and his work in construction. This urban setting influenced his creation of kinetic toys, which were treated with a bright and whimsical finish similar to his animal carvings.
Related artists in KMAC's collection:
Garland Adkins, Minnie Adkins, Ernest Baker, Linvel Barker, Minnie Black, Denzil Goodpaster, Tim Hall, Larry Hamm, Alma Lesch, Erma "Junior" Lewis, Tim Lewis, Lloyd "Hog" Mattingly, Carl McKenzie, Earnest Patton, Donny Tolson
Lavitt, Wendy. Animals in American Folk Art. New York: Knopf, 1990.