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Hydrangeas Spring Song

Alma Thomas, American, 1891 - 1978

Made in United States, North and Central America


Acrylic on canvas

6 feet 6 inches × 48 inches (198.1 × 121.9 cm)

Research inconclusive. Copyright may apply.

Curatorial Department:
Contemporary Art

* Gallery 274, Modern and Contemporary Art, second floor (Tuttleman Gallery)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
125th Anniversary Acquisition. Purchased with funds contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Julius Rosenwald II in honor of René and Sarah Carr d'Harnoncourt, The Judith Rothschild Foundation, and with other funds being raised in honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Museum and in celebration of African American art, 2002

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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.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.