La Playa Negra I (Tar Beach I)

  • Antonio Martorell, La Playa Negra I (Tar Beach I), 2010, woodcut on Japanese paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment, 2012.59.1, © 2010, Antonio Martorell

Puerto Ricans who migrated to the continental United States during the early to mid-twentieth century called the rooftops of tenement buildings tar beaches.” Martorell’s print was inspired by his study of rooftop snapshots that migrants mailed back to relatives on the island. Here a fashionable woman wears a fur-collared coat and sits in front of a New York City skyline. Her hardworking double on the left sits behind a sewing machine. In his Playa Negra (Tar Beach) series, Martorell juxtaposed migrants’ prosperous self-image with a glimpse of their tiring labor.

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art, 2013

La Playa Negra I (Tar Beach I)
Not on view
sheet and image: 5947 in. (149.9119.4 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment

Mediums Description
woodcut on Japanese paper
  • Cityscape – New York – New York
  • Figure group – female
  • Ethnic – African-American
  • Object – other – sewing tool
  • Ethnic – Latino
  • Architecture – bridge
  • Ethnic – Puerto Rican
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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