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All about the Benjamins Century Vase

Roberto Lugo, American, born 1981

Made in The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, North and Central America


Porcelain, china paint, gold luster

14 1/2 × 12 × 15 1/2 inches (36.8 × 30.5 × 39.4 cm)

Courtesy Wexler Gallery

Curatorial Department:
American Art

* Gallery 388, European Art 1500-1850, third floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with funds contributed by The Women's Committee and The Craft Show Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2016

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Here you will find Benjamin Franklin as you’ve never seen him before. Philadelphia-born artist Roberto Lugo riffs on the traditional representations of Franklin found throughout the city—ones that celebrate him as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. You can see one such stately portrayal of Franklin directly behind you, in gallery 384. Lugo places Franklin within a constellation of songs, symbols, and rappers’ names—ones that shaped his childhood and adult life. The artist also includes his own self-portrait on the other side of the vase, creating an imagined dialogue between himself and Franklin around the themes of money, history, violence, and success.

* 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.