Marvin Finn

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


Click to view an archival list of all artists in the collection.


Recurring themes:

Agriculture, Class, Domestic Life


KMAC exhibitions:

Hollers and Harvests, Re-Animation: Turning Toys into Art


Reference material:

Lavitt, Wendy. Animals in American Folk Art. New York: Knopf, 1990.


Four-headed Goose

Four-headed Goose

Wood and paint. Courtesy of the artist.

Fire Truck

Fire Truck

Paint, wood, and found objects. Courtesy of Mary and Rev. Al Shands.



Wood and paint. Courtesy of the artist.

Red Bull

Red Bull

Wood, paint, and rope. Courtesy of Mary and Rev. Al Shands.


715 West Main Street

Louisville, Kentucky 40202



Wednesday - Sunday 10a-4p

Monday & Tuesday CLOSED

Admission to KMAC is free for students and children thanks to a generous donation from

Brook and Pam Smith. KMAC is also supported in part by our members, The Fund for the Arts, and the Kentucky Arts Council. Our exhibitions are supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

© 2021 KMAC Museum

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