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Hydrangeas Spring Song

Alma Thomas (American, 1891–1978)

Alma Thomas’s mosaic-like paintings reveal her keen powers of observation and interest in the rhythms of nature. At the age of sixty-nine she retired from teaching art and embarked on painting in her own style, ultimately becoming the sole Black woman artist in the Washington Color School.

Calling to mind the spring flowers surrounding Thomas’s home, Hydrangeas Spring Song was made using an impasto technique by which paint is applied in thick layers. Its scattered shapes emphasize the artist’s hand as they seemingly dance across the canvas, evoking a range of influences from the cutout collages of Henri Matisse, to African textiles, to the pulsing improvisations of jazz.

Object Details

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