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Great Aunts, Grandma Anna's Funeral, Birmingham, Alabama

1979 Marilyn Nance Born: New York, New York 1953 gelatin silver print sheet: 15 7/8 x 19 7/8 in. (40.4 x 50.4 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase made possible by the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment and the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program © 1979, Marilyn Nance 1994.66.5 Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

Great Aunts, Grandma Anna’s Funeral, Birmingham, Alabama may have triggered Nance’s initial interest in spirituality. She knew that the people she met at her grandmother’s funeral were family, but, she wrote, “I didn’t know who they were or how I was related.” Even so, their gathering to commemorate her grandmother’s life, she felt, “was a testimony to our perseverance and continued struggle.” The rich black tones of her great aunts’ clothing as the women emerge from the dark interior personalize the scene and unite the women in their grief.

African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, 2012


Ceremony - funeral

Ethnic - African-American

Landscape - Alabama - Birmingham

Portrait group - family

photography - photoprint


gelatin silver

About Marilyn Nance

Born: New York, New York 1953

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Marilyn Nance