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Ronald & Jessie Cooper

Ronald Cooper and Jessie Dunaway were born in 1931 and 1932, in Flemingsburg, Kentucky. They married when Jessie was 17 and ran a country store for eight years before moving to Dayton, Ohio. They returned to Kentucky after a near death car accident that crushed Ronald’s legs. To escape great physical pain and major depression, Ronald made cut-outs which Jessie painted. Soon, Ronald began carving wood in-the-round, and Jessie began painting in her own right.

The Coopers quickly attracted the attention of serious collectors, as Ronald’s work evolved and broadened to include his “signature” portrayal of devils. Many of the Coopers’ works are collaborative: three-dimensional “found” objects such as chests, upon which Jessie paints pastoral scenes and which open to reveal Ronald’s dramatic depictions of hell.