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The Long Rows

1966 Benny Andrews Born: Madison, Georgia 1930 Died: New York, New York 2006 oil on canvas 25 x 18 in. (63.5 x 45.7 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the Andrews Humphrey Family Foundation 2012.3.1 Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

In 1965 Andrews began what he called his autobiographical series – memory paintings that dealt with the lives of people he knew during his childhood in Georgia. In The Long Rows he takes the idea of memory painting a step farther. Andrews gives us no clues about the identity of the subject. She faces away so we see only the bowed curve of her body. The low vantage point is from the perspective of a child who works the fields behind a parent, as did Andrews and his siblings. Silhouetted against the sky, the figure is heroic, an homage to the hard labor and perseverance of Southern sharecroppers.

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


Figure - full length

Object - tool - hoe

Occupation - farm - sowing