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Many Mansions

Painting of three black youths gardening, residential towers loom in the background.

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  • Painting of three black youths gardening, residential towers loom in the background.




Kerry James Marshall
American, born 1955

About this artwork

Many Mansions is the first in Kerry James Marshall’s series of five large-scale paintings depicting public housing projects in Chicago and Los Angeles such as Rockwell Gardens, Wentworth Gardens, or, as in Many Mansions, Stateway Gardens. Struck by the absurdity of the term “garden” to describe these failed solutions to low-income housing, Marshall was inspired to represent the profound contradictions of living in such an environment. Many Mansions is filled with ironic and startling juxtapositions of the real and artificial—from the unnaturally cheerful landscape to the three haunting, ebony-skinned figures dressed in nostalgic Sunday best. The title of the painting, visible on the red ribbon above, is a variation on Christ’s oft-quoted remark found in John [14:2]: “In my Father’s house there are many mansions.”


Currently Off View


Contemporary Art


Kerry James Marshall


Many Mansions


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Acrylic on paper mounted on canvas


289.6 × 342.9 cm (114 × 135 in.)

Credit Line

Max V. Kohnstamm Fund

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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