White Roses Sing and Sing

Media - 1980.36.3 - SAAM-1980.36.3_1 - 68577
Copied Alma Thomas, White Roses Sing and Sing, 1976, acrylic on canvas, 72 1252 38 in. (184.1133.0 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of the artist, 1980.36.3

Artwork Details

White Roses Sing and Sing
Not on view
72 1252 38 in. (184.1133.0 cm)
Credit Line
Bequest of the artist
Mediums Description
acrylic on canvas
  • Abstract
  • Object — flower — rose
Object Number

Artwork Description

An expert colorist who became more daring and innovative with age, Thomas here departs from bright, high-keyed hues to create an all-over, mosaic-like pattern of pale forms set within a shifting array of verdant green and yellow. Her late-in-life dedication to abstraction came at a time when many other African American painters sought to engage social and racial issues through figuration and narrative. By contrast, Thomas's work was inspired by the hues and forms of nature. White Roses Sing and Sing is non-representational, emphasizing abstract color and shape, yet strongly evocative of the natural world. Thomas's observation of the flora surrounding her in Washington, DC -- from the roses in her backyard to the azalea blooms at the National Arboretum -- was a key inspiration for her art. She even suggested Wind, Sunshine, and Flowers as an apt title for a book about her life.


Media - 1978.40.3 - SAAM-1978.40.3_2 - 137737
Composing Color: Paintings by Alma Thomas
September 15, 2023June 2, 2024
The exhibition Composing Color: Paintings by Alma Thomas provides an intimate view of Alma Thomas’ evolving artistic practices during her most prolific period from 1959 to her death in 1978.