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Mary and Mammy

ca. 1925 Sarah Eakin Cowan Born: Hendersonville, North Carolina 1875 Died: Miami, Florida 1958 watercolor on ivory sight 5 x 3 3/4 in. (12.7 x 9.4 cm) rectangle Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the American Society of Miniature Painters 1965.30.4 Not currently on view


Luce Center Label

This miniature shows an African American woman posing with her employer’s child. The title of the portrait evokes a time when black domestic workers were expected to be devoted to the care of white children. The woman’s direct gaze, however, suggests the strength and dignity of an individual who did not define herself through her employer.

Keywords

Ethnic - African-American

Occupation - domestic - nursemaid

Portrait female - unidentified - Mammy

Portrait female - unidentified - Mary

painting - miniature

paint - watercolor

ivory

About Sarah Eakin Cowan

Born: Hendersonville, North Carolina 1875 Died: Miami, Florida 1958