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Malcah Zeldis
Miss America Beauty Pageant
1973
oil on masonite
48 x 40 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr.



A self-taught artist who began to paint in her late thirties, Zeldis often selects subjects from notable events in American popular culture. In this beauty pageant scene, friends and cameramen cheer Miss America on as she walks down the runway after her coronation. On the stage behind her, actor Bert Parks, the master of ceremonies, stands at a microphone, flanked by contestants from around the country. The clapping audience and bright colors accentuate the celebratory energy of the composition.