James Castle Untitled (Coat Construction) c. 1925

  • Not on view

Deaf from birth, Castle never learned to speak, sign, read, or write. His art, intimate in scale and focus, was the means by which he conveyed his inner vision and inventiveness, and he created a visual language inspired by his Idaho home and daily life. Refusing formal art training, Castle devised his own methods. He drew in a mixture of soot and saliva with a sharpened stick on found surfaces and created thousands of drawings, constructions, and books throughout his adult life.

Gallery label from Glossolalia: Languages of Drawing, March 26–July 7, 2008.
Paper, soot, spit, and string
11 1/8 x 6 1/2" (28.3 x 41 cm)
Gift of the Family of James Castle
Object number
© 2024 James Castle
Drawings and Prints

Installation views

We have identified these works in the following photos from our exhibition history.

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].