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A colorful three-quarter-length portrait
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
2011
Classification
painting
Medium
rhinestones, acrylic, oil, and enamel on wood panel
Dimensions
96 x 80 x 2 in. (243.8 x 203.2 x 5.1 cm)
Date Acquired
2019
Credit
Collection SFMOMA
Purchase, by exchange, through a gift of Peggy Guggenheim
Copyright
© Mickalene Thomas / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Permanent URL
https://www.sfmoma.org/artwork/2019.103
Artwork Status
On view on floor 2 as part of Open Ended: Painting and Sculpture, 1900 to Now.

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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