Study for "Africa and the Bull #2"

Object Details

Hale Woodruff
c. 1958
gouache and charcoal on paper
17 13/16 × 23 7/8 in. (45.2 × 60.7 cm)
Best known for murals depicting African American history, Hale Woodruff (1900-1980) riffs on Greek mythology to critique colonialism in this study for Africa and the Bull. In gouache and charcoal on paper, black lines triangulate into a white bull’s haunches. Black and white forms in the upper right foreshadow flowers placed on the animal’s neck by Africa, a Black woman born away by European exploitation, rather than Europa across the sea by Zeus. A grey wash and ink drips echo the aquatic abduction of the Middle Passage. The Illinois-born artist grew up in Nashville, Tennessee and studied art at the Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis, Harvard’s Fogg Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition, he attended the Académie Moderne and Académie Scandinave while living in Paris for four years. While a professor at Atlanta University, he spent a summer in Mexico studying with muralist Diego Rivera. He later taught on the faculty of New York University.
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