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Portrait of the Black Madonna

1987 Benny Andrews Born: Madison, Georgia 1930 Died: New York, New York 2006 oil and collage on canvas 36 x 48 in. (91.4 x 121.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the Andrews Humphrey Family Foundation 2012.3.2 Smithsonian American Art Museum
3rd Floor, East Wing


Exhibition Label

Portrait of Black Madonna seems to be a straightforward image of a woman. Her arms, the shawl around her shoulders, and the flowers are formed of pieces of painted cloth. The spout of the coffee pot is three-dimensional – Andrews worked a scrap of fabric around a piece of wood. Just above it, a zipper confirms that the fabric was cut from a discarded item of clothing. The collaged elements – which by the late 1980s were a hallmark of Andrews’s work – give dimension and tactile reality to the canvas. Portrait of Black Madonna is not only a picture of a woman and the joy and responsibility associated with motherhood; it also honors the strength and resiliency of women throughout the world.


African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, 2012

Keywords

Ethnic - African-American

Figure female - waist length

Still life - flower

painting - mixed media

About Benny Andrews

Born: Madison, Georgia 1930 Died: New York, New York 2006

More works in the collection by
Benny Andrews