The Anacostia Community Museum will be closed from January 8, 2024-March 22, 2024. We will reopen on Saturday, March 23, 2024 with our next exhibition, A Bold and Beautiful Vision: A Century of Black Arts Education in Washington, DC,1900-2000. We hope you will join us! 

Child's Portrait

Object Details

Thomas Hunster
Between 1875 and 1929
oil on paper mounted to paperboard
19 3/4 × 14 1/4 × 3/8 in. (50.1 × 36.2 × 1 cm)
This oil painting of a child by Thomas Watson Hunster (1851-1929) is similar to five portraits that he exhibited at the Jamestown Ter-Centennial in 1907, an exposition marking the three hundredth anniversary of English settlers’ arrival in Jamestown. Professor Hunster’s contributions represented not only his artistic abilities, but also those of African American students in Washington, DC. As Director of Drawing for Black public schools in the city’s segregated system, Professor Hunster developed an innovative curriculum for teaching visual arts alongside industrial and manual arts, such as carpentry and metalwork. Oil paintings by students were among a variety of works seen by thousands of daily visitors, including President Theodore Roosevelt and First Lady Edith Roosevelt, in the separate hall for African American exhibitions. As Jim Crow legislation blanched Reconstruction’s reforms, Professor Hunster curated displays that clearly communicated accomplishment along with activism, choosing, for example, his portraits featuring decorated veteran and civil rights activist Milton M. Holland and his wife, Virginia W. Holland.
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