Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

Selma Burke Portrait

Selma Burke Portrait Selma Burke Portrait

Selma Burke

Also Known as: Selma Hortense Burke, Dr.Selma Burke

Born:
Mooresville, North Carolina 1900

Died:
New Hope, Pennsylvania 1995

Active in:

  • New York, New York

Photo Caption:
Selma Burke in her studio, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0100404

Photo Caption:
Selma Burke in her studio, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0100405

Photo Caption:
Selma Burke in her studio, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0100403

Luce Artist Quote

"My mother was very proud of my achievements—she felt that I had delivered the Burkes from the cotton patch to the White House." Selma Burke, quoted in Hine, ed., Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, 1993


Biography

Sculptor and educator who received national recognition for her relief portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, which was the model for his image on the dime. Committed to teaching art to others, Burke established the Selma Burke Art School in New York City in 1946 and subsequently opened the Selma Burke Art Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Joan Stahl American Artists in Photographic Portraits from the Peter A. Juley & Son Collection (Washington, D.C. and Mineola, New York: National Museum of American Art and Dover Publications, Inc., 1995)

Additional Biographies

Luce Artist Biography

Selma Burke was one of ten children born to a Methodist minister in rural North Carolina. When she was a child, Selma would mold the soft clay of the riverbanks into small figures. In the 1920s, Burke became one of the few African American women to achieve fame during the Harlem Renaissance, which brought many black male artists and writers to the nation's attention. She later taught at the Harlem Community Art Center and founded the Selma Burke Art School in New York City and the Selma Burke Art Center in Pittsburgh. Burke is most famous for her 1944 relief Franklin Delano Roosevelt, which inspired the Roosevelt dime.

Share This Page