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Emancipation House

1964 George W. White, Jr. Born: Cedar Creek, Texas 1903 Died: Dallas, Texas 1970 mixed media: wood, cloth, and oil 19 1/2 x 23 1/4 x 18 1/2 in. (49.5 x 59.2 x 47.0 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase 1976.60 Not currently on view


Gallery Label

Events tied to personal experience and family histories are often at the center of folk expressions. Here the artist, a Texan of African American, Native American, and Mexican ancestry, incorporates history, humor, and memory into a detailed rural scene in which three men repair a roof while two women eat watermelon beneath an illustration of Lincoln's inauguration. Little is understood about White's intentions in using exaggerated stereotypical imagery. Yet aspects like the electrical wiring that once animated the rooftop men and lit the interior, underscore his delight in entertaining viewers.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006

Keywords

Allegory - other - liberation

Animal - bird - chicken

Animal - dog

Architecture - domestic - cottage

Ethnic - African-American

Figure group

Homage - Lincoln, Abraham

sculpture

folk art

fabric

paint - oil

wood