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Portrait of Lillian Evans Tibbs Evanti

1937 P. H. Polk Born: Bessemer, Alabama 1898 Died: Tuskegee, Alabama 1984 gelatin silver print image: 10 3/8 x 8 in. (26.4 x 20.3 cm) sheet: 13 1/2 x 10 1/2 in. (34.3 x 26.7 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Thurlow Evans Tibbs, Jr. 1994.61 Not currently on view


Exhibition Label

A stately Russian wolfhound recruited for this portrait accentuates the poise and glamour of Lillian Evans Tibbs. Known professionally as Madame Evanti, this Washington native was an internationally acclaimed lyric soprano and the first African American to sing with the Paris Opera. P.H. Polk treated his clients as collaborators, claiming, “If you can’t touch a person in some way, you don’t get a good picture.” His portrait of Lillian Evans Tibbs was designed to reveal her personality, rather than to promote her celebrity status.


A Democracy of Images: Photographs from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2013

Keywords

Animal - dog - borzoi

Dress - accessory - hat

Ethnic - African-American

Performing arts - music - voice

Portrait female - Evanti, Lillian, Madame - full length

Portrait female - Tibbs, Lillian Evans - full length

photography - photoprint

paper

gelatin silver

About P. H. Polk

Born: Bessemer, Alabama 1898 Died: Tuskegee, Alabama 1984