About this artwork
In Head of a Negro Woman, Sargent Claude Johnson combined abstract elements drawn from African sculpture and masks—such as the regularly scored marks that describe hair—with a naturalistic portrayal of the woman’s physiognomy. In the 1920s and 1930s, writer and philosopher Alain Locke urged artists to seek aesthetic inspiration from African art, and Johnson frequently followed this advice. Here, by subtly stylizing the woman’s appearance, Johnson made this delicate terracotta sculpture highly individual yet also timeless and universal.
- Sargent Claude Johnson
- Head of a Negro Woman
- United States
- Signed: SARGENT JOHNSON (on underside of hair on proper left)
- 20.6 × 10.5 × 13.3 cm (8 1/8 × 4 1/8 × 5 1/4 in.) (sculpture) 7.9 × 10.8 × 10.2 cm (3 1/8 × 4 1/4 × 4 in.) (base)
- Laura T. Magnuson Endowment