Interior: Two Chairs and Fireplace (Primary Title)

Mickalene Thomas, American, born 1971 (Artist)

acrylic and oil enamel with rhinestones on panel
Overall: 96 × 72 in. (243.84 × 182.88 cm)
Not on view

What’s so great is that Matisse looked at Manet. And Romare Bearden looked at Matisse and Manet. And I’m looking at all three; it’s a lineage. —Mickalene Thomas

Thomas explores traditional notions of femininity and beauty, as well as female empowerment, through paintings portraying provocative, glamorous African American women. She begins her three-part process by building sets redolent of 1970s domestic interiors, where she then poses and photographs her model. Finally, she paints the image on a much larger scale, incorporating materials such as glitter and sequins.

Thomas’s dialogue with art history is evident in this painting, which, unusually for her, presents a setting without the figure. The rich profusion of patterns plays on Henri Matisse’s paintings, while the illusion of torn and pasted fragments recalls Romare Bearden’s collages.


Gift of Pamela K. and William A. Royall, Jr.
© Mickalene Thomas

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