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Portrait of the Black Madonna

1987 Benny Andrews Born: Madison, Georgia 1930 Died: New York, New York 2006 oil and collage on canvas 36 x 48 in. (91.4 x 121.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the Andrews Humphrey Family Foundation 2012.3.2 Not currently on view


Exhibition Label

Portrait of Black Madonna seems to be a straightforward image of a woman. Her arms, the shawl around her shoulders, and the flowers are formed of pieces of painted cloth. The spout of the coffee pot is three-dimensional -- Andrews worked a scrap of fabric around a piece of wood. Just above it, a zipper confirms that the fabric was cut from a discarded item of clothing. The collaged elements -- which by the late 1980s were a hallmark of Andrews's work -- give dimension and tactile reality to the canvas. Portrait of Black Madonna is not only a picture of a woman and the joy and responsibility associated with motherhood; it also honors the strength and resiliency of women throughout the world.


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

Gallery Label

Andrews used painted cloth to create the arms, shawl, and flowers in Portrait of Black Madonna. The spout of the coffee pot is three-dimensional - he worked a scrap of fabric around a piece of wood to make it. Just above, a zipper confirms that the fabric was cut from a discarded item of clothing. These collaged elements - which by the late 1980s were a hallmark of Andrews's work - give dimension and tactile reality to the canvas. Portrait of Black Madonna is a picture of the joy and responsibility associated with motherhood; it also honors the strength and resiliency of women throughout the world.

Keywords

Ethnic - African-American

Figure female - waist length

Still life - flower

painting - mixed media

About Benny Andrews

Born: Madison, Georgia 1930 Died: New York, New York 2006

More works in the collection by
Benny Andrews