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Southern Gate

1942-1943 Eldzier Cortor Born: Richmond, Virginia 1916 Died: Seaford, New York 2015 oil on canvas 46 1/4 x 22 in. (117.5 x 55.8 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David K. Anderson, Martha Jackson Memorial Collection 1980.137.19 Smithsonian American Art Museum
1st Floor, South Wing


Exhibition Label

Painted in the early years of World War II, Southern Gate offers, a surreal, dreamlike picture of a solemn young woman standing in a space defined by a once-elegant wrought-iron fence, a river, and the steeple of a distant church. They are evocative elements -- the river is a traditional metaphor for passage, the fence an emblem of both confinement and of safe haven from the outside world. Wearing a necklace adorned with a cross and with a bird perched on her shoulder, she invites associations with the Virgin Mary; but Cortor's figure is as physical as she is innocent, an Edenic Eve who stands outside the sacred garden.


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

Keywords

Architecture Exterior - detail - gate

Ethnic - African-American

Figure female - knee length

Figure female - nude

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Eldzier Cortor

Born: Richmond, Virginia 1916 Died: Seaford, New York 2015

More works in the collection by
Eldzier Cortor