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The Anacostia Community Museum’s indoor gallery will be closed March 2 through May 18 as we bring our next exhibition to life. Even though our gallery is closed, join us at any of the dynamic upcoming events planned during this time. More information about our events is available at: We look forward to seeing you soon!

Reading the Bible (Portrait of Maude Jones)

Object Details

John N. Robinson
oil on canvas board
Frame: 27 3/16 × 23 1/4 × 1 11/16 in. (69 × 59 × 4.3 cm)
John Robinson’s work frequently features portraits of his family and surrounding community, offering an intimate look at mid twentieth-century Washington, D.C. Maud Jones, a woman who sold newspapers on New York Avenue, asked Robinson to paint her portrait with the Bible. The resultant painting shows Maud seated in profile by a window in the artist’s sitting room, which is filled with framed artworks and fine furnishings, including an Oriental rug and upholstered chair that also appear in a portrait of Robinson’s son, Pete (1991.0068.0002). The sitter’s face is pursed in concentration, though her pose is relaxed.
Robinson later recalled that, “she came for several Sundays and sat. Before I finished the portrait, she disappeared, and I never saw her again.” The portrait of Maud Jones likely remained in the artist’s personal collection for several years, as it can be seen hanging for sale in the background of his 1946 painting, Outdoor Art Fair, Lafayette Park (2017.15.1).
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