Untitled (Lady)

  • 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

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 19301980 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.
Untitled (Lady)
ca. 1970 - 1980
13 12 × 3 12 × 2 14 in. (34.3 × 8.9 × 5.7 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Orren and Marilyn Bradley and Kohler Foundation, Inc.

Mediums Description
painted wood and hair
  • Figure female – full length
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More from artist

More Artworks from the Collection

Fish Decoy

20th century
carved and painted wood, painted copper sheet, ferrous eye hook, lead weight, and glass eyes