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Marian Anderson

Object Details

Artist
Laura Wheeler Waring, 1887 - 1948
Sitter
Marian Anderson, 27 Feb 1897 - 8 Apr 1993
Date
1944
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Stretcher: 193 x 102.2 x 2.5cm (76 x 40 1/4 x 1")
Frame: 207.6 x 114.9 x 7.9cm (81 3/4 x 45 1/4 x 3 1/8")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Harmon Foundation
Exhibition Label
Born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
One of the outstanding voices of the twentieth century, contralto Marian Anderson—like many African American artists of the time—first achieved success in Europe. Impresario Sol Hurok convinced her to return to America, and a triumphant 1935 concert secured her reputation. In 1939 she became embroiled in a historic event when the Daughters of the American Revolution banned her appearance at its Constitution Hall because she was black. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt intervened and facilitated Anderson’s Easter Sunday outdoor concert at the Lincoln Memorial—an event witnessed by 75,000 and broadcast to a radio audience of millions. In 1955 Anderson was invited to appear at the Metropolitan Opera (in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera), becoming the first African American to sing an important role with that company. In 1978 she received a Kennedy Center Honors award.
Provenance
Commissioned by the Harmon Foundation, New York; gift 1967 to NPG.
Collection Description
The Harmon Foundation, a philanthropic organization based in New York City (active 1922–1967), included this portrait in their exhibition Portraits of Outstanding Americans of Negro Origin, which opened at the Smithsonian in 1944 and documented noteworthy African Americans’ contributions to the country. Modeling their goal of social equality, the Harmon sought portraits from African American artist Laura Wheeler Waring and Euro-American artist Betsy Graves Reyneau. The two painters followed the conventional codes of academic portraiture, seeking to convey their sitters’ extraordinary accomplishments. This painting, along with a variety of educational materials, toured nation-wide for ten years, serving as a visual rebuttal to racism.
La Harmon Foundation, entidad filantrópica con sede en la ciudad de Nueva York (activa entre 1922 y 1967), incluyó este retrato en Portraits of Outstanding Americans of Negro Origin (Retratos de estadounidenses destacados de origen negro), una exposición inaugurada en la Smithsonian en 1944 que documentó las aportaciones de afroamericanos notables al país. A tono con sus ideales de igualdad social, la fundación encargó retratos a la artista afroamericana Laura Wheeler Waring y a la euroamericana Betsy Graves Reyneau. Ambas adoptaron los códigos convencionales del retrato académico para comunicar en sus obras los logros extraordinarios de sus modelos. Esta pintura, junto con diversos materiales educativos, viajó por la nación durante diez años planteando una impugnación visual del racismo.
Object number
NPG.67.29
Type
Painting
Topic
Costume\Jewelry\Necklace
Nature & Environment\Clouds
Interior\Interior with Exterior View
Religious\Cross
Nature & Environment\Mountain
Marian Anderson: Female
Marian Anderson: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer\Opera
Marian Anderson: Education and Scholarship\Educator\Teacher\Music
Marian Anderson: Presidential Medal of Freedom
Marian Anderson: Congressional Gold Medal
Portrait
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Copyright
© Estate of Laura Wheeler Waring
GUID
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sm40f5eae60-58b7-4557-b90e-5a461817d8f0
Record ID
npg_NPG.67.29
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