Miss America Beauty Pageant
Born: New York, New York 1931
oil on masonite 48 x 40 in. (121.9 x 101.6 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 23B
Luce Center Label
Malcah Zeldis spent several years living on a kibbutz in Israel and gave herself the Hebrew name Malcah, which means "queen," when she was nineteen. After she returned to the United States, she began to paint satires of American rituals, including national holidays, funerals, and splashy weddings. Zeldis points up the contrast between the golden blondes who dominate this painting and the dark-haired, dark-skinned people around them. The meaning is unclear, but the image suggests that the artist was coming to terms with a culture very different from what she had known in Israel.
Ceremony - other - beauty contest
Figure(s) in interior - civic
paint - oil
fiberboard - masonite