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Work of the Week: This, My Brother

In anticipation of this June's upcoming exhibition Charles White: A Retrospective, here's a look at a rare canvas work by the native Chicagoan and School of the Art Institute graduate. 

White took the title of this painting from a literary work by John Rood about rural poverty, wherein a miner, who has suffered "liberal burial . . . under the weight of thousands of millions of tons of earth and rock" experiences a political awakening. Painted in vivid colors and in direct perspective, the canvas artwork has a monumental quality that calls to mind White's own murals and those of Mexican artists Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, whose works inspired him. Heroically proportioned, his solemn face focused and somewhat mysteriously set, White's miner stretches his arms and open hands toward the viewer as though offering a secret—and breaks free of the rubble.

Visit This, My Brother, currently on display in Gallery 263, on your next trip the the museum—and see how it inspires you. 


Charles White. This, My Brother, 1942. Pauline Palmer Prize Fund.  © The Charles White Archives.