Untitled (Lady)

Copied William Dawson, Untitled (Lady), ca. 1970 - 1980, painted wood and hair, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Orren and Marilyn Bradley and Kohler Foundation, Inc., 2015.58.8

Artwork Details

Untitled (Lady)
ca. 1970 - 1980
13 12 × 3 12 × 2 14 in. (34.3 × 8.9 × 5.7 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Orren and Marilyn Bradley and Kohler Foundation, Inc.
Mediums Description
painted wood and hair
  • Figure female — full length
Object Number

Artwork Description

William Dawson began carving when he was semiretired and working as a security guard, which allowed him the time to whittle. Dawson’s work became renowned as part of the 1982 exhibition Black Folk Art in America 1930-1980 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Untitled (Lady), carved in the round, also has movable arms fastened to the body with nails. Dawson outlined his figures with a coping saw and used wood files and X-Acto knives for detailing. He then painted the sculptures with bright acrylics, adding a varnish finish for extra gloss. He attached found objects such as human hair to give the figure character and add realism.