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SOLD BY THE ORDER OF THE TRUSTEES OF THE HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN TO BENEFIT ITS ACQUISITION PROGRAM

ALMA THOMAS (1891-1978)
Red Rambling Rose Spring Song
signed and dated 'AW Thomas 76' (lower right); signed again, dated again, and titled 'Red Rambling Rose Spring Song '76 Alma W. Thomas' (on the reverse)
53 x 35 1/8 in. (134.6 x 89.2 cm.)
acrylic on canvas
Painted in 1976.

Provenance
Martha Jackson Gallery, New York
Joseph H. Hirshhorn, New York and Washington, D.C.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, gifted from the above, 1980
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1996

Exhibited
New York, Martha Jackson Gallery, Alma W. Thomas: Recent Paintings 1975-1976, October-November 1976, no. 4.
Washington, D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 1980-1996 (gifted).
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Lot Essay

Reflected by the poetic titles of these paintings, Alma Thomas’s mosaic-like, allover compositions were inspired by the observation of natural phenomena in her home of Washington, D.C. Often connected to the Washington Color School for her interest in abstraction, Thomas’s work separates itself in its more gestural and active style and experimentation with color, recalling the color theory of Josef Albers and the synesthesia of Wassily Kandinsky. Born in 1897, Thomas surpassed the barriers presented by her race and gender, becoming an influential teacher in the arts as well as an integral voice for social justice and equality. Despite her political and historical involvement, Thomas’s work steered away from these references, reflecting the belief that modern art could transcend these concerns. Devoted to her students, Thomas only began her art career and developed her signature style of dappled fields upon retiring in her 70s, resulting in a limited, yet extremely profound, body of work. Since then, Alma Thomas was notably the first African American woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney in 1972, and her paintings have been exhibited in museums nationwide as well as the White House.

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