Alma W. Thomas

Everything Is Beautiful

Seth Feman and Jonathan Frederick Walz

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A sweeping retrospective of Alma W. Thomas’s wide-reaching artistic practice that sheds new light on her singular search for beauty

Achieving fame in 1972 as the first Black woman to mount a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Alma W. Thomas (1891–1978) is known for her large abstract paintings filled with irregular patterns of bright colors. This insightful reassessment of Thomas’s life and work reveals her complex and deliberate artistic existence before, during, and after the years of commercial and critical success, and describes how her innovative palette and loose application of paint grew out of a long study of color theory. Essays trace Thomas’s journey from semirural Georgia to international recognition and situate her work within the context of the Washington Color School and creative communities connected to Howard University. Featuring rarely seen theatrical designs, sculpture, family photographs, watercolors, and marionettes, this volume demonstrates how Thomas’s pursuit of beauty extended to every facet of her life—from her exuberant abstractions to the conscientious construction of her own persona through community service, teaching, and gardening.  

Seth Feman is deputy director for art and interpretation and curator of photography at the Chrysler Museum of Art. Jonathan Frederick Walz is director of curatorial affairs and curator of American art at The Columbus Museum.

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE

Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA
(July 9–October 3, 2021)
 
The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
(October 30, 2021–January 23, 2022)
 
Frist Art Museum, Nashville
(February 25–June 5, 2022)
 
The Columbus Museum, GA
(July 1–September 25, 2022)
 

"A robust, but until now mostly untold, account of Thomas’ artistic journey."—Artfix Daily 
 

“Stunning. . . . The catalog’s writing is consistently clear and free of jargon is a tribute to the authors and editors. The essays are illustrated with a wealth of photographs and archival material that document the artist’s life. The full-color illustrations of the artworks are superb.”—Andrea Kirsch, The Art Blog
ISBN: 9780300258936
Publication Date: August 17, 2021
Publishing Partner: Published in association with The Columbus Museum and the Chrysler Museum of Art
336 pages, 9 1/2 x 11 3/4
222 color + 85 b/w illus.
ADDITIONAL MATERIALS
Romare Bearden, American Modernist

Edited by Ruth Fine and Jacqueline Francis

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Art History in the Wake of the Global Turn

Edited by Jill H. Casid and Aruna D'Souza

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Figuring History

Robert Colescott, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas

Edited by Catharina Manchanda; With essays by Jacqueline Fr

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Ruth Asawa

Life’s Work

Edited by Tamara H.

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For America

Paintings from the National Academy of Design

Edited by Jeremiah William McCarthy and Diana Thompson

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Bob Thompson

This House Is Mine

Edited by Diana Tuite; With contributions by Kraig Blue, Ad

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