Mickalene Thomas
Qusuquzah, une très belle négresse 1, 2011

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Qusuquzah, une très belle négresse 1
Artist name
Mickalene Thomas
Date created
rhinestones, acrylic, oil, and enamel on wood panel
96 × 80 × 2 in. (243.8 × 203.2 × 5.1 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Purchase, by exchange, through a gift of Peggy Guggenheim
© Mickalene Thomas / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Confident and self-aware, the women Thomas depicts are powerful protagonists in control of how they are portrayed. This work is part of a series that considers little-known paintings of Black women by modern artists. The composition was inspired by Édouard Manet’s La négresse (also known as Portrait of Laure, 1862), which was painted in preparation for the figure of the maid in his iconic Olympia (1863). Thomas obtained the subtitle from Manet’s description of his subject. Rooted in her desire to represent Black women on their own terms, Thomas’s portrait of Qusuquzah, who frequently models for the artist, celebrates the beauty of Black trans womanhood.

Gallery text, 2020

Other Works by Mickalene Thomas

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