Portrait of Lillian Evans Tibbs Evanti

Media - 1994.61 - SAAM-1994.61_1 - 52012
Copied P. H. Polk, Portrait of Lillian Evans Tibbs Evanti, 1937, gelatin silver print, image: 10 388 in. (26.420.3 cm) sheet: 13 1210 12 in. (34.326.7 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Thurlow Evans Tibbs, Jr., 1994.61

Artwork Details

Portrait of Lillian Evans Tibbs Evanti
Not on view
image: 10 388 in. (26.420.3 cm) sheet: 13 1210 12 in. (34.326.7 cm)
embossed inscription on sheet, lower right, below image: PHOTOGRAPHIC DIVISION / P. H. POLK, INSTR. / TUSKEGEE INSTITUTE, ALA.
Credit Line
Gift of Thurlow Evans Tibbs, Jr.
Mediums Description
gelatin silver print
  • African American
  • Dress — accessory — hat
  • Performing arts — music — voice
  • Portrait female — Tibbs, Lillian Evans — full length
  • Portrait female — Evanti, Lillian, Madame — full length
  • Animal — dog — borzoi
Object Number

Artwork Description

A stately Russian wolfhound recruited for this portrait accentuates the poise and glamour of Lillian Evans Tibbs. Known professionally as Madame Evanti, this Washington native was an internationally acclaimed lyric soprano and the first African American to sing with the Paris Opera. P.H. Polk treated his clients as collaborators, claiming, “If you can’t touch a person in some way, you don’t get a good picture.” His portrait of Lillian Evans Tibbs was designed to reveal her personality, rather than to promote her celebrity status.

A Democracy of Images: Photographs from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2013