Bessie's Blues from the series American Collection Number 5

A work made of cotton, rayon, nylon and polyester blend fabrics; acrylic paint.

Image actions

  • A work made of cotton, rayon, nylon and polyester blend fabrics; acrylic paint.

Date:

January 19, 1997

Artist:

Faith Ringgold (American, born 1934)
United States, New York, Harlem

About this artwork

Faith Ringgold employed thick lines and forms to portray the singer Bessie Smith, also known as "Empress of the Blues." The deliberate dissonance between Smith's melodies and their musical accompaniment finds a visual echo in Ringgold's pared-down portrait of the glamorous Smith (known for bespangled dresses and sparkly jewelry). The subtle variations among the repeated portraits hint at the variations in pitch and rhythm in the choruses of Smith's songs.

Currently Off View

Textiles

Artist

Faith Ringgold

Title

Bessie's Blues from the series American Collection Number 5

Origin

New York

Date

1997

Medium

Cotton, rayon, nylon and polyester blend fabrics; acrylic paint

Dimensions

195.4 × 201.3 cm (76 7/8 × 79 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Robert Allerton Endowment

Reference Number

2002.381

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share