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Women and Children

Object Details

James Amos Porter
crayon, pastels, ink, gouache on paper
12 3/16 × 9 5/8 in. (31 × 24.5 cm)
This small interior scene features five figures gathered before a doorway. The work was first executed in graphite using energetic marks, with impressionistic passages of color in crayon and pastel. A standing woman rests her hand on a child’s shoulder while another child looks on. A seated woman raises a large bowl. The colorful lanterns and door jamb, as well as the earth tones used for the setting, create a warm, comfortable atmosphere.
As a scholar, James A. Porter was particularly interested in Africa’s influence on African American art and culture. He was awarded a grant to conduct research on African art in West Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt from 1963 to 1964. This drawing is believed to come from Porter’s African sketchbook. Beyond the composition and below the window mat, smeared pastel media, scribbles in pen, and various calculations and measurements show evidence of Porter’s working process. The measurements inscribed around the image suggest the artist considered translating this small sketch into a larger work.
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