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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Painting: 20th century: Light Blue Nursery
Light Blue Nursery

Light Blue Nursery
Alma Thomas
acrylic on canvas
49 x 47 7/8 in. (124.4 x 121.5 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist
". . . through my impressions of nature . . . I hoped to impart beauty, joy, love, and peace." The artist, quoted in Van Vechten, Recent Painting by Alma W. Thomas: Earth and Space Series, Exhibition Catalogue, Gallery of Fine Arts, 1971

During the 1960s, African American painter Alma Thomas emerged as an exuberant colorist and member of the Washington Color Field School, abstracting shapes and patterns from the trees and flowers around her and creating works that shimmer with color. “Color is life," Thomas once explained. "Light reveals to us the spirit and living soul of the world through colors.” She produced some of her most important works in this decade, including Light Blue Nursery. The rhythmic horizontal lines of bright blues, reds, yellows, and greens are offset by white areas of untouched raw canvas, creating a jewel-like mosaic.

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