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Untitled (Woman and Child)

ca. 1950 Selma Burke Born: Mooresville, North Carolina 1900 Died: New Hope, Pennsylvania 1995 painted red oak overall: 47 1/8 x 12 3/4 x 11 3/4 in. (119.6 x 32.3 x 29.8 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of John A. Sakal and Terry L. Bengel in honor of Dr. Paul Albert Chew, Founding Director of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, Pennsylvania 2004.20 Not currently on view

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Untitled (Woman and Child)
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Luce Center Quote

"Art didn't start black or white, it just started. There have been too many labels in this world: . . . Negro, Colored, Black, African-American . . . Why do we still label people with everything except 'children of God'?" Selma Burke, quoted in Schwalb, "Without Color," ARTnews, September 1994

Luce Center Label

In Selma Burke's Untitled (Woman and Child) the figures appear to materialize out of the wood, and the woman's arm and child's back merge to represent the closeness of their bond. Burke followed an African practice of selecting carving materials for their symbolic value, and chose to sculpt this scene in red oak, which embodies the strength of the figures' relationship.


Figure group - female and child



wood - oak