Object Details

Benny Andrews
oil and mixed media on canvas
12 5/8 × 10 1/4 in. (32 × 26 cm)
Frame: 14 7/16 × 12 × 2 11/16 in. (36.7 × 30.5 × 6.9 cm)
A woman rests her hands on a red ledge trimmed in gold as she gazes into a rectangular portal in this portrait by Benny Andrews (1930-2006). Pictured in profile, she wears a smile that hints at the painting’s title, Bliss, along with a red blouse with a white collar and a white skirt flecked with yellow. Though primarily composed in oils, a folded textile, collaged and incorporated into the paint, helps to form the woman’s neck and sleeve. Her clothing and hair achieve three-dimensions due to a technique called impasto, in which layers of paint thicken into texture. Born in Georgia, Andrews moved to New York City after earning a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1958. His leadership roles as an artist, educator, and activist included co-founding the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition, which sought more inclusion of African American artists in New York City’s art museums in the late 1960s and 1970s and established an innovative arts education program for incarcerated individuals. Another portrait of a woman by Andrews, The Ironer, is also in the Anacostia Community Museum’s collection (2014.0033.0002).
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Anacostia Community Museum Collection
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Anacostia Community Museum
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