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2020 Acquisition Highlights

National Gallery of Art Acquires Forty Works by African American Artists from Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Mary Lee Bendolph, Blocks and Strips, 20022002

Mary Lee Bendolph, Blocks and Strips, 2002, wool, cotton, and corduroy, Patrons' Permanent Fund and Gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, 2020.28.1

The National Gallery of Art is pleased to announce a major acquisition of 40 works from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation by 21 African American artists from the southern United States. The acquisition is made possible through the generosity of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation in addition to funds from the Patrons’ Permanent Fund. Some highlights of this important acquisition are nine quilts by the artists of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, including Mary Lee Bendolph and Irene Williams; three paintings, three drawings, and one sculpture by Thornton Dial; works on paper by Nellie Mae Rowe, Henry Speller, Georgia Speller, and “Prophet” Royal Robertson; four sculpted heads by James “Son Ford” Thomas; and three sculptures by Lonnie Holley. The Gallery joins other prominent museums that have acquired works from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation since 2014, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Phillips Collection.

Jan Brueghel the Elder, Wooded Landscape with Travelers

Jan Brueghel the Elder, Wooded Landscape with Travelers, 16101610

Jan Brueghel the Elder, Wooded Landscape with Travelers, 1610, oil on panel, The Lee and Juliet Folger Fund, 2020.26.1

The National Gallery of Art has acquired Wooded Landscape with Travelers (1610), an exquisite example of one of Jan Brueghel the Elder’s (1568–1625) most popular landscape themes: a well-traveled road winding through woodland. This painting simultaneously reflects the traditional compositional structure developed by 16th-century Netherlandish artists and, through its increased naturalism and celebration of the everyday, prefigures subsequent developments in landscape painting. This work joins two paintings by the artist—Flowers in a Basket and a Vase (1615) and River Landscape (1607)—in the collection.

One of the most versatile and acclaimed Flemish painters of the 17th century, Jan Brueghel the Elder is known for his flower still lifes, intricate allegories, elaborate gallery paintings, and small-scale landscapes and coastal scenes filled with animated detail. He was the son of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/1530–1569), the renowned Flemish painter of landscapes, allegories, and scenes of everyday life. Brueghel forged an artistic identity distinct from that of his father and was a close friend and frequent collaborator of Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), as well as other Flemish artists.

In composing Wooded Landscape with Travelers, Brueghel adopted techniques developed by earlier Flemish landscape painters such as Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Joachim Patinir (c. 1485–1524) for simulating spatial perspective by using specific color families: warm browns in the immediate foreground, cool greens in the middle ground, and misty shades of blue in the far distance. Brueghel’s gently rolling landscape provides a welcoming environment for farmers with loaded carts, herdsmen coaxing their livestock, country folk resting and conversing, and more prosperous travelers in a covered carriage. A rustic tavern, a small village with a church tower, and the city view on the distant horizon help to situate the scene in the countryside of Flanders.

This painting was previously owned by Max Stern (1904–1987) of the Galerie Stern, Düsseldorf, before he fled the Nazi regime in December 1937 and emigrated to Canada by way of England. Before the National Gallery acquired the painting, the Swiss art dealer David Koetser (of David Koetser Gallery) and The Dr. & Mrs. Max Stern Foundation, Canada, the heir to Stern’s estate, reached a friendly settlement resolving any and all of the Foundation’s claims to the painting. The National Gallery acquired the painting from Koetser through the generosity of The Lee and Juliet Folger Fund. The Gallery is also grateful for the careful provenance research conducted on this work by the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich.

Roy DeCarava, Dancers


Roy DeCarava, Dancers, 1956, gelatin silver print, 30.48 x 24.77 cm (12 x 9 3/4 in.), Promised Gift of Betsy Karel

The Gallery has been promised a gelatin silver print of Roy DeCarava’s Dancers (1956) from Betsy Karel, who has previously contributed numerous photographs and works on paper to the Gallery’s collection. DeCarava has inspired a wide range of photographers with his complex and layered depictions of African American life. His influence can be found in the work of Carrie Mae Weems (b. 1953), Dawoud Bey (b. 1953), and the members of the Kamoinge Workshop, a collective of African American photographers established in New York City in 1963.

DeCarava (1919–2009) came to maturity during the Harlem Renaissance, a period of cultural explosion centered in African American communities after the First World War. He sought to create photographs that deviated from the prevailing social documentary trends of the time and refuted, as he wrote, the “superficial . . . caricatured” depictions of African Americans. His photographs show African American life from the inside and create, in his words, “the kind of penetrating insight and understanding of Negroes which I believe only a Negro photographer can interpret.”

One of his most celebrated pictures, Dancers was taken during an intermission at a Harlem social club. DeCarava saw it as a deeply complex and challenging picture. He described the male dancers as being “in some ways distorted characters” who were dancing in the manner of an older generation of vaudeville performers. He continued: “The problem comes because their figures remind me so much of the real-life experience of blacks in their need to put themselves in an awkward position before the man, for the man; to demean themselves in order to survive, to get along. In a way, these figures seem to epitomize that reality.” DeCarava also recognized that “there is something in the figures not about that; something in the figures that is very creative, that is very real and very black in the finest sense of the word.”

Dancers joins the 11 photographs by DeCarava already in the Gallery’s collection. Together they provide a complex and incisive insight into mid-20th-century African American life.

Mickalene Thomas, Melody: Back

Mickalene Thomas, Melody: Back, 20112011

Mickalene Thomas, Melody: Back, 2011, diffusion transfer print (Polaroid), Charina Endowment Fund and Peter Edwards and Rose Gutfeld Fund, 2020.3.1

The Gallery has acquired its first work by celebrated African American artist Mickalene Thomas (b. 1971). Although she is best known for her rhinestone-encrusted paintings, Thomas has made photographs since the beginning of her artistic career. Melody: Back (2011), a Polaroid print that depicts a seated nude woman, draws on European art history with the model mimicking the pose of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s The Grand Odalisque (1814). Instead of placing her figure on sumptuous silks, as Ingres did, Thomas has used boldly patterned fabrics, and her black model proudly displays a tattoo on her back that says “Only God Can Judge Me.” Proclaiming her subject’s beauty and sexuality, Thomas provocatively challenges cultural stereotypes while creating a richly textured work of art.

Adriaen Coorte, Still Life with a Hanging Bunch of Grapes, Two Medlars, and a Butterfly

Adriaen Coorte, Still Life with a Hanging Bunch of Grapes, Two Medlars, and a Butterfly, 16871687

Adriaen Coorte, Still Life with a Hanging Bunch of Grapes, Two Medlars, and a Butterfly, 1687, oil on canvas, The Lee and Juliet Folger Fund, 2020.16.1

Adriaen Coorte’s (active c. 1683–1707) still-life paintings are among the most mysterious and compelling works of art produced in the Netherlands during the 17th century. The Gallery has just acquired Still Life with a Hanging Bunch of Grapes, Two Medlars, and a Butterfly (1687), a particularly striking work by the artist and one of only three known compositions in which the dominant element is suspended in midair before a dark background. This is the second painting by Coorte to enter the Gallery’s collection. A later work, Still Life with Asparagus and Red Currants (1696), was acquired in 2002.

Little is known of Coorte’s life or professional training, except that he evidently lived and worked in the Dutch city of Middelburg during the latter part of the 17th century. His 70 or so known paintings are dated from 1683 to 1707. The stark simplicity of his compositions—typically just a few natural objects set on the corner of a stone ledge or tabletop and silhouetted against a dark background—recalls the elegant restraint of paintings by Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675).

In this painting Coorte celebrates the bounty of autumnal fruits with a combination of grapes and medlars. The plump, juicy grapes dangling from a cord demonstrate a masterful use of light and shadow to render spherical objects, which is contrasted with thin, sharp highlights that describe the crisp, crinkled texture of the attached leaf. One of the painting’s most striking elements is the wiry, calligraphic grapevine silhouetted against the background, which seems to form a two-dimensional cage for the blue Polyommatus icarus hovering weightless in midair. Other tiny insects navigate the grapes and the stone ledge in the foreground of the painting. In the soft shadows of the ledge are two medlars, a popular fruit in the medieval and early modern periods. Medlars are picked with the fall’s frost but become edible only after they ripen off the tree, rendering the flesh soft and sweet. In Coorte’s time, they were one of the few fruits that could be eaten fresh in the winter.

Irving Penn, Street Photographer (A), New York

Irving Penn, Street Photographer (A), New York, 1950, printed October 19761950, printed October 1976

Irving Penn, Street Photographer (A), New York, 1950, printed October 1976, platinum-palladium print, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation, in Recognition of Constance McCabe's Achievements in Photograph Conservation, 2019.166.1

In 1950 and 1951, the celebrated American photographer Irving Penn (1917–2009) made a remarkable series of portraits of anonymous tradespeople—chimney sweeps, plumbers, bakers, sewer cleaners, and even a messenger for the Cartier jewelry store in New York City. In recognition of Constance McCabe’s achievements in photograph conservation and in honor of her retirement as the head of photograph conservation at the National Gallery of Art, The Irving Penn Foundation gave the museum a platinum-palladium print of Street Photographer (A), New York (1950, printed October 1976). The printing process has great meaning for McCabe, as she has done extensive research into the history and science of platinum-palladium prints.

The work depicts a photographer posed in front of a simple background. At the time Penn took this image, photographers such as the one seen here would often set up their cameras on city streets, hoping to convince passersby to have their portraits made. Penn treated the workers in his series of portraits with the same care and attention to detail that he gave to the celebrated authors, painters, intellectuals, and Vogue magazine fashion models whom he also photographed.

Thomas Demand, Embassy I, from the series Yellowcake

Thomas Demand, Embassy I, 2007, chromogenic print, Gift of the Tony Podesta Collection in honor of Earl A. Powell III, Director of the National Gallery of Art (1992 - 2019), 2019.167.1

Thomas Demand, Embassy I, from the series Yellowcake, 2007, chromogenic print, Gift of the Tony Podesta Collection in honor of Earl A. Powell III, Director of the National Gallery of Art (1992 - 2019), 2019.167.1

The Gallery has acquired nine chromogenic prints from the series Yellowcake (2007) by German photographer Thomas Demand (b. 1964). These photographs were given to the Gallery by Tony Podesta, who has donated numerous outstanding works over the years.

Demand focuses on global current events to question how visual images inform our perception of the world. Beginning with a preexisting picture often taken from the media, he translates the scene into a handcrafted, life-size model made of colored paper and cardboard. After carefully lighting and photographing it, the models are destroyed.

The series title Yellowcake refers to the technical term for a concentrated form of uranium that, when enriched, may be used to make nuclear weapons. After September 11, 2001, the Bush administration claimed they had evidence that Saddam Hussein had been seeking significant quantities of the material in Africa. This evidence, used to justify the invasion of Iraq by the United States, was allegedly stolen from the Nigerian embassy in Rome and provided to American and British intelligence agencies from an Italian source. As the events of this story unraveled, it became clear that the evidence was counterfeit.

Yellowcake depicts the place where the so-called evidence originated. Because there were no existing media images for Demand to use, he visited the Nigerian embassy in Rome, where he took a few cell phone pictures and then made sketches and constructed his models from memory. The scenes he produced progress cinematically: a nondescript building flying the flag of Niger, dull interior shots with doors closed, and finally a stream of light from a door left ajar revealing an office in disarray, as if a break in has just occurred.

A compelling work, Yellowcake is an important addition to the Gallery’s holdings of Demand’s photographs, which include Presidency I–V (2008), given to the Gallery by Agnes Gund and Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder in 2009, and Clearing (2003), which is a promised gift from the collection of Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker.

Frans Snyders, Still Life with Flowers, Grapes, and Small Game Birds

Frans Snyders, Still Life with Flowers, Grapes, and Small Game Birds, c. 1615c. 1615

Frans Snyders, Still Life with Flowers, Grapes, and Small Game Birds, c. 1615, oil on panel, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John E. Pflieger, 2020.14.1

The Gallery has acquired its second still-life painting by Frans Snyders (1579–1657), one of the most accomplished Flemish painters of the 17th century. The painting was generously donated by Donna Pflieger, reaffirming her and her family’s long-standing commitment to the Gallery.

A native of Antwerp, Snyders trained with the renowned Flemish artists Pieter Brueghel the Younger (c. 1564–1637/1638) and Hendrick van Balen (1575–1632). He achieved international fame for his magnificent still lifes of market displays, trophies of the hunt, and tabletops brimming with fruit and game. Over the course of his career, Snyders frequently collaborated with Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), painting the still-life and animal elements in many of Rubens’s best-known compositions.

Offering a masterful compilation of flowers, birds, and grapes, Still Life with Flowers, Grapes, and Small Game Birds (c. 1615) is an early example of the modestly scaled and beautifully detailed still lifes Snyders executed throughout his career. Finches, robins, and other dead birds are piled in the foreground, while a gleaming gold tazza overflows with plump grapes and delicately twisting vines. A colorful array of tulips, roses, and other blossoms emerging from a glass vase demonstrates the artist’s wide-ranging understanding of the natural world.

Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, Coriolanus Taking Leave of His Family

Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, Coriolanus Taking Leave of his Family, 17861786

Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, Coriolanus Taking Leave of his Family, 1786, oil on canvas, New Century Fund, Gift of Edwin L. Cox – Ed Cox Foundation, and Chester Dale Fund, 2019.169.1

The Gallery has acquired an exquisite example of French neoclassical history painting by the celebrated painter Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson (1767–1824). Coriolanus Taking Leave of His Family (1786) was painted as an entry in the competition for the Prix de Rome, the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture’s most prestigious prize. Once owned by the chemist Antoine Lavoisier and seized after his execution during the French Revolution, it was thought lost until it came up for auction last year.

Girodet’s painting depicts the legendary Roman general Gaius Marcius Coriolanus bidding farewell to his family after he was banished from the city in the 5th century BCE. With its radical simplification of form, the work demonstrates the artist’s masterful assimilation of his teacher Jacques-Louis David’s groundbreaking neoclassicism. Contrasting the general’s stoic acceptance of his fate with his family’s grief, it offers a profound meditation on the tragic, irresolvable tension between familial ties and civic duty.

Coriolanus Taking Leave of His Family transforms the Gallery’s collection of 18th- and 19th-century paintings. History painting, which portrays historical, mythological, or religious subjects, was the most ambitious genre of painting in France for more than two centuries. Girodet’s painting is the first French neoclassical example of this genre to enter the Gallery’s collection and represents one of the most significant examples of its kind in the United States. Currently being treated by Gallery conservators, it is in excellent condition—unlined, still on its original stretcher, and likely untouched since it was first painted.

Achille-Etna Michallon, The Forum at Pompeii


Achille-Etna Michallon, The Forum at Pompeii, 1819, oil on paper, Gift of the Matthiesen Gallery and John Lishawa Ltd. in memory of E. A. Carmean Jr. (1945–2019) and Philip Conisbee (1946–2008), both curators at the National Gallery of Art, 2020.15.1

The Gallery has acquired its first work by French painter Achille-Etna Michallon (1796–1822). The Forum at Pompeii (1819) is a gift from the Matthiesen Gallery and John Lishawa Ltd. in memory of E. A. Carmean Jr. (1945–2019) and Philip Conisbee (1946–2008), both former curators at the National Gallery of Art.

The Forum at Pompeii is among the earliest surviving examples of Michallon’s work in oil from Pompeii and was possibly intended to be a study for a more ambitious painting. A quick sketch painted en plein air, it shows his interest in depicting the effects of light on the ruins. The mountains in the distance, painted with rapid brushstrokes in neutral tones, evoke an ambiguous direction of light and time of day. In contrast, the light on the ruins suggests a sunset streaming in from the right side of the canvas, depicted with light touches of color on small sections of the walls and thin lines of yellow paint that indicate the edge of a wall or side of a column.

Ralston Crawford, Lights in an Aircraft Plant


Ralston Crawford, Lights in an Aircraft Plant, c. 1945, gouache, Promised Gift of Linda Lichtenberg Kaplan

The Gallery is pleased to announce that the superb drawing Lights in an Aircraft Plant (c. 1945) by American artist Ralston Crawford (1906–1978) has been promised to the museum by Linda Lichtenberg Kaplan, a noted Washington, DC, curator, art historian, writer, philanthropist, and collector. Kaplan has donated several works of art to the Gallery over the years, including Modern Sculpture with Aperture (1967) by Roy Lichtenstein in 2004; Foliage (late 19th century) by William Trost Richards in 2015, through the Corcoran Collection acquisition; Aeroplane (1925–1927) by Louis Lozowick in 2018 (promised gift); Fascism (1934) by Francis Criss also in 2018 (partial and promised gift); and Sullivan Street Abstraction, No. 2 (1947) by George Ault in 2018 (promised gift).

In the 1930s, Crawford played a key role in the development of precisionism, an artistic movement that focused on urban and industrial subjects rendered in crisp, simplified geometric shapes. The abstract elements, fractured forms, and broad areas of opaque watercolor in Lights in an Aircraft Plant (c. 1945) exemplify this stylistic approach.

The subject matter and reductive figures derive from Crawford’s experience during World War II, when he employed symbolic shapes to indicate rain, snow, clouds, and other meteorological conditions for efficient communication of weather information to military personnel. The receding white lines that stand out against a dull yellow background in the drawing suggest overhead lighting in a vast warehouse. A brilliant blue describes shadows and the dark interior of a large tubular form inside a gray-walled space. This drawing offers a striking comparison with the Gallery’s painting Lights in an Aircraft Plant (1945) that was created around the same time.

The drawing joins the Gallery’s collection of 60 works by Crawford: 24 small pen and ink sketches, one early opaque watercolor study, one collage, 13 photographs, 20 prints, and one oil painting.

Eva Hesse, No title (two etchings)

Eva Hesse, No title, 1958

Eva Hesse, No title, 1958, aquatint and etching on wove paper, Avalon Fund and Gerald Cerny Fund, 2020.7.1

Eva Hesse, No title, 1957/19581957/1958

Eva Hesse, No title, 1957/1958, sugarlift etching, Avalon Fund and Gerald Cerny Fund, 2020.7.2

Eva Hesse (1936–1970) produced an extraordinarily inventive, influential body of work in her short career. Pioneering the use of unusual materials—including textiles, latex, and fiberglass—and individual sculptural forms, she ushered in a new conceptual era of sculpture and installation art in the 1960s. Although not known for her prints, Hesse produced at least 14 etchings, 17 lithographs, and two woodcuts early in her career. The Gallery has acquired two etchings that show Hesse’s early fascination with texture, versatility of line, tensions between positive and negative space, and the expressive, vulnerable qualities of material and structural form. These prints join one print, two drawings, and one sculpture by Hesse already in the Gallery’s collection.

John Outterbridge, Plus Tax: Shopping Bag Society, Rag Man Series

John Outterbridge, Plus Tax: Shopping Bag Society, Rag Man Series, 19711971

John Outterbridge, Plus Tax: Shopping Bag Society, Rag Man Series, 1971, mixed media, Purchased with funds from The Ahmanson Foundation and Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, 2020.12.1

The Gallery has recently acquired Plus Tax: Shopping Bag Society, Rag Man Series (1971), the first work by the African American artist John Outterbridge to enter the collection. It is part of a series of eight sculptures made from 1970 to 1976 that were inspired by the idea of the ragman and the social fabric of 1970s south-central Los Angeles. Using recycled canvas to reimagine the model of modernist assemblage, the Rag Man series has literal and figurative depth.

John Outterbridge (b. 1933) grew up during the Depression in the Jim Crow South surrounded by his grandmother’s handmade herbal remedies (often sewn into asafetida bags) and a playground of discarded objects from his father’s junk business. In 1963 Outterbridge went to Los Angeles, where he began assembling cast-off materials to reveal and honor the cultural histories of his youth. After the 1965 Watts Riots, Outterbridge incorporated the considerable detritus left by the riots to make sense of and create a new order from the ruins of south-central Los Angeles.

In Plus Tax: Shopping Bag Society, Outterbridge has sewn found canvas into the form of a shopping bag, on which he has colorfully painted the ground and the words “PLUS TAX” on the left side, “BAG” repeated six times on the right, and “Shopping Bag Society” on the back. To the bag’s handles the artist has attached colored paper tags, some from J. W. Robinson’s, an upscale Los Angeles department store. Plus Tax: Shopping Bag Society questions the different values placed on such an object in a society with a wide socioeconomic range. Is this work someone’s waste, or someone’s treasure; who is taxed or burdened by this society, and who has it “in the bag”?

Emma Amos, Gold Face Type

Emma Amos, Gold Face Type, 19661966

Emma Amos, Gold Face Type, 1966, color screenprint, Gift of the Collectors Committee, 2019.164.2

The National Gallery of Art has recently acquired five works on paper (four prints and one collaged paper-pulp work) made from the 1960s to the early 2000s by the artist and activist Emma Amos (1937–2020). These works are examples of Amos’s engagement with issues of feminism and racism, and power dynamics in imagery that does not always appear overtly political.

Amos was the youngest and only female member of the important New York artist collective Spiral, which was formed in response to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. Founded by Richard Mayhew, Romare Bearden, and Hale Woodruff, the collective served as a forum for African American artists to discuss their role in America’s rapidly changing political and cultural landscape. They explored ideas such as whether “black art” can or should be defined—issues that continue to be debated today.

Amos went on to contribute to the important feminist art journal Heresies and purportedly participated in the Guerrilla Girls, an activist group of anonymous women artists who protest injustices in the art world. Throughout her career Amos faced prejudice against both her race and gender, and she primarily showed her art in exhibitions that featured black and/or women artists. Amos’s employment and family life also limited her artistic production, contributing to her mostly small and often experimental printed editions that have slight variations, such as collaged or other unique elements, as seen in several of the works acquired by the Gallery.

These five works on paper join one print diptych by Amos in the Gallery’s collection.

Dirck Hals, Merry Company on a Terrace

Dirck Hals, Merry Company on a Terrace, 16251625

Dirck Hals, Merry Company on a Terrace, 1625, oil on panel, The Lee and Juliet Folger Fund, 2020.11.1

The Gallery has acquired its first painting by Dirck Hals (1591–1656), the younger brother of Frans Hals (c. 1582/1583–1666), who was one of the most innovative and prolific artists active in Haarlem in the early decades of the 17th century. Dirck probably trained with his brother and with the Rotterdam genre painter Willem Buytewech (1591/1592–1624). Buytewech was one of a handful of artists who specialized in small-scale merry companies—scenes of young men and women enjoying themselves either indoors or in the open air. Dirck also explored this engaging theme, but the influence of his brother’s characteristically vivid palette, painterly technique, and animated brushwork imbued his merry companies with distinctive vivacity and lightness of spirit.

Merry Company on a Terrace (1625) was painted during the period of Dirck’s best work. The outdoor setting is imaginary and suggests the idyllic country pleasures of the well-to-do. Seated to the left are a woman with a lute and a man with a cello; they are joined by a fashionable young couple who listen to the music. In the background, a young servant readies a display of sparkling tableware and festive dishes, including a spectacular turkey pie. To the right, steps lead from the terrace to a still expanse of water bordered by trees.

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, I See Red: Target

Dartboard with 12 darts coming out of in top semi-circle pattern, on top of large red painted canvas with various cutouts in portrait orientation.

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, I See Red: Target, 1992, mixed media on canvas, Purchased with funds from Emily and Mitchell Rales, 2020.6.1

The Gallery has just acquired I See Red: Target (1992) by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (b. 1940), the first painting by a Native American artist to enter the collection. Smith, an enrolled Salish member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation in Montana, is one of the most highly respected artists of the past 40 years. An impressive 11-foot-tall mixed-media work on canvas, I See Red: Target addresses both local and national conversations around the commercial branding of Indigenous American identity through Smith's deftly layered assemblage of printed ephemera and painterly touches. This painting joins 24 works—either photographs or works on paper—by Native American artists currently in the Gallery's permanent collection. Other artists represented include Sally Larsen, Victor Masayesva Jr., and Kay WalkingStick.

I See Red: Target features a target and darts that are arranged at the top of the work to allude to feathers in a headdress. Smith attached two canvases collaged with clippings from mainstream newspapers as well as the Char-Koosta News, a comic book cover, fabric, and a pennant. The alternating bands of historic images of Native Americans used in a reservation community service notice bear the stain-like drips of bloodred paint, which serve as an evocative device throughout Smith's I See Red series to call up issues of history, identity, race, and rage.

María Berrío, A Sunburst Restrained

María Berrío, A Sunburst Restrained, 20192019

María Berrío, A Sunburst Restrained, 2019, collage with Japanese paper and watercolor on canvas, Gift of Erika and John Toussaint, 2020.2.1

The Gallery has acquired its first work by Colombian artist María Berrío (b. 1982), who is known for her luminous collages of Japanese papers painted with watercolor. She arranges the collages to depict female figures in spaces of refuge and imagined utopias that incorporate the cultural influences and flora of South America.

In A Sunburst Restrained (2019) two female figures recline in a tiled setting. A fluid pink ground fills the bottom third of the composition, over which a branch full of leaves and lemons appears, cutting across the foreground and cropped by the bottom edge of the canvas. The artist attributes her inspiration for this work to Pablo Neruda’s poem "Ode to a Lemon," which links the greatness of celestial light to the modest but life-affirming form of a lemon. Berrío has imbued her rendering of the two women and the lemons with such barely contained vitality and light.

Barbara Morgan, Martha Graham, American Document ("Puritan Love Duet" with Erick Hawkins)

Barbara Morgan, Martha Graham, American Document (

Barbara Morgan, Martha Graham, American Document ("Puritan Love Duet" with Erick Hawkins), 1938, gelatin silver print, R. K. Mellon Family Foundation, 2020.4.1

The Gallery has acquired a photograph by Barbara Morgan (1900–1992) of pioneering American choreographer and dancer Martha Graham. Morgan met Graham in 1935 and embarked upon a series of photographs of Graham and her dance company. Graham created a series of dances based on American subjects, including American Document, which incorporated episodes from American history set to music by Ray Green and accompanied by spoken quotations from historical documents. Martha Graham, American Document (“Puritan Love Duet” with Erick Hawkins) (1938) shows Graham in one section of the dance, “Puritan Love Duet,” with Hawkins, the first male dancer to appear with Graham’s company. Morgan’s photograph joins one other photograph and two prints by the artist in the Gallery's collection.

Oliver Lee Jackson, Triptych (3.20.15, 5.21.15, 6.8.15)

Oliver Lee Jackson, Triptych (3.20.15, 5.21.15, 6.8.15), 20152015

Oliver Lee Jackson, Triptych (3.20.15, 5.21.15, 6.8.15), 2015, applied felt, chalk, alkyd paint, and mixed media on wood panel, Purchased with funds from the Glenstone Foundation, 2019.143.1

The Gallery has acquired one of Oliver Lee Jackson's (b. 1935) most remarkable works, the large Triptych (3.20.15, 5.21.15, 6.8.15) (2015), consisting almost entirely of colored felt cut and applied to board. In each panel, dark forms suggesting figures or parts of figures seem to move, dance, or run in and through fields of light blue, orange, pink, green, and white. Figurative references—looming heads and recumbent bodies—are also contained within the fields of color. The imagery, with its simultaneous suggestions of joy and intense energy, dance and flight, echoes thematic material that has permeated Jackson's career, from the dynamism of his works of the 1970s inspired by newspaper photographs of the 1960 massacre in Sharpeville, South Africa, to persistent themes of a grand dance evoking a sense of spectacle and ritual. While collage and cut-outs have a long history in 20th-century art, Jackson's embrace of felt, which he values for its saturated color and optical neutrality, is distinctive. He folds and overlaps the cloth to create sensations of depth that complicate (without ever contradicting) the inherent flatness of the materials.

Triptych joins four paintings by Jackson that are already in the collection, expanding the Gallery's holdings of the work of this powerful modern American artist.