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Bessie's Blues from the series American Collection Number 5

A work made of cotton-, rayon-, nylon-, and polyester- blend fabrics; acrylic paint.
© 2019 Faith Ringgold / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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  • 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.

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Textiles

Artist

Faith Ringgold

Title

Bessie's Blues from the series American Collection Number 5

Origin

New York

Date

Made 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

Copyright

© 2019 Faith Ringgold / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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 . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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