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Mother and Child

A work made of lithograph in black on ivory wove paper.

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  • A work made of lithograph in black on ivory wove paper.




John Wilson (American, born 1922)
printed at Taller de Gráfica Popular (Mexican, founded 1937) by José Sánchez

About this artwork

After studying in his native Boston and in Paris with Fernand Léger, John Wilson worked in Mexico from 1950 to 1956, drawn, like many progressive African American artists, to the expressive power of Mexican modern art and its frank political engagement. Mother and Child, which Wilson made while a guest artist at the Taller de Gráfica Popular, relates to a 1952 mural he executed in Mexico, The Incident. Now destroyed, the mural portrayed the gruesome lynching of an African American witnessed by a family. In the print, Wilson retained the monumental scale and sculptural forms of the mural but translated the specific fear of lynching expressed by the figures into a more generalized but equally affecting image of sorrow and protective anxiety. In Mexico Wilson found the freedom, as well as the distance, to explore the oppression and trauma of the African American experience.

Después de estudiar en su Boston natal y en París con Fernand Léger, John Wilson trabajó en México de 1950 a 1956 atraído, como muchos artistas afroestadounidenses progresistas, por el poder expresivo del arte moderno mexicano y su franco compromiso político. Madre e hijo, que Wilson realizó durante su estancia como artista huésped del Taller de Gráfica Popular, alude a un mural que creó en México en 1952 llamado El incidente. Ahora destruido, el mural representaba el espantoso linchamiento de un afroestadounidense, con una familia de testigo. En el grabado, Wilson conservó la escala monumental y las formas esculturales del mural, pero transformando el temor específico del linchamiento expresado por las figuras en una imagen más general, e igualmente aflictiva, de pesar y ansiedad de protección. En México, Wilson encontró la libertad, así como la distancia, para explorar la opresión y el trauma de la experiencia afroestadounidense.


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Prints and Drawings


John Wilson


Mother and Child


United States (Artist's nationality)




Lithograph in black on ivory wove paper


Image: 55 × 48 cm (21 11/16 × 18 15/16 in.); Sheet: 62.5 × 50.4 cm (24 5/8 × 19 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Margaret Fisher Fund

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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