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Lois Mailou Jones
Les Fétiches
1938
oil
21 x 25 1/2 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible by Mrs. N. H. Green, Dr. R. Harlan, and Francis Musgrave



African masks and fetishes provided this African-American artist with powerful symbols of her ancestral past, which she discovered while studying in France. In Les Fétiches, the five contrasting masks, a white pendant charm, and standing red figure capture the electrifying magic associated with ritual objects.