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Crystal Bridges’ August Programs: Inspired by American Made Exhibition
July 22, 2016
Armchair with View of Ithaca Falls
Chairmaker unidentified; decoration probably by R.H. Ranney (dates unknown), Ithaca, New York
ca. 1817-1825
Paint, bronze-powder stenciling, and gold leaf on wood, with rush seat. 
Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York
Gift of Ralph Esmerian, 2005
Stories from American Made: Ithaca Falls Chair
July 25, 2016
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Beauty and Happiness: Alma Thomas

Alma Thomas detail

Lunar Rendezvous—Circle of Flowers, 1969
(Detail)
Alma Thomas, 1891 – 1978
Oil on canvas
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

 

"Lunar Rendezvous—Circle of Flowers," 1969 Alma Thomas, 1891 - 1978 Oil on canvas Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

“Lunar Rendezvous—Circle of Flowers,” 1969
Alma Thomas, 1891 – 1978
Oil on canvas
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Alma Thomas is having “a moment” lately.  Thomas is the subject of an article in this week’s New Yorker, and was also featured in the May issue of Art in America.  A retrospective of her work is currently on view in the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York.

 

This African American artist, who died in 1978, created wholly unique, abstract, and joyful paintings in bright hues.

 

She was a glass ceiling breaker:  the first African American woman to have a solo show at the Whitney, in 1972.  But perhaps most inspirationally (at least to me), Thomas’s artistic career didn’t really take off until after she retired from teaching in 1960.  She was 69.

 

I refer to Alma Thomas today because in our world, which currently seems so full of violence and conflict and hateful rhetoric, Thomas offers us a place of peace, wonder, and celebration.

 

“Through color, I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness,” she said, “rather than on man’s inhumanity to man.”

 

Thanks, Ms. Thomas.

Linda DeBerry
Senior Copy Editor / Publications Manager

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