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Root of Jesse

1985-1986 Steve Hawley Born: New York, New York 1950 oil and alkyd on linen 48 x 40 in. (121.9 x 101.6 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of an anonymous donor © 1986, Steve Hawley 1987.8 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 43A

Luce Center Quote

“The paintings within paintings represent the multiple stages of reality. I’m fascinated with the interplay of the physical and the spiritual, the classical and the abstract, the past and the present.” Steve Hawley, n.d.

Luce Center Label

Steve Hawley creates expressive still lifes and interiors, and often incorporates images of his own paintings and sketches into the compositions. Here, a jagged piece of paper showing a crucifix appears taped to the wall behind a table of fruit. Hawley does not consider his work to be devotional, but uses symbols like the crucifix to “explore and resolve” his personal questions about Christianity. The detailed image of the fruit reflected in the shiny tabletop creates a sense of stillness that contrasts with the passion and vigor expressed by the painting in the background.


Religion - New Testament - Crucifixion

Still life - furniture - table

Still life - vegetable - squash


paint - oil

fabric - linen

About Steve Hawley

Born: New York, New York 1950