6-decade-long missing painting found, Massachusetts museum reports

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A second panel in American artist Jacob Lawrence’s extensive series “Struggle: From the History of the American People” that has been hidden from public view for decades has been located, the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts said on Tuesday. .

Officially titled “Admitted Immigrants from All Countries: 1820 to 1840 – 115,773”, the painting known as Panel 28 had not been seen in public since 1960 and was only known from a black and white reproduction. .

“We are delighted to share news of this important discovery, especially at a time when Americans are actively engaged in democracy,” Lydia Gordon, associate curator of the museum said in a statement. The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem hosted the exhibit.

The painting will now join nearly 30 of the black artist’s other works painted in the 1950s for the final two stops on a nationwide tour in Seattle and Washington, museum officials said. The 30-piece series remains incomplete, as the location of three panels remains a mystery, the museum said.

The 12-inch by 16-inch (30.5 centimeters by 40.5 centimeters) panel was found in a New York City apartment, along with another painting in the series, Panel 16, which was rediscovered in a another house in October. . The owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, inherited Panel 28 from his family, who, like the figures depicted, were immigrants.

The hardboard egg tempera in vivid reds and yellows depicts two women wearing shawls holding babies, one breastfeeding, and a man wearing a wide-brimmed hat and holding a flowerpot containing a single red rose, America’s national flower. The subjects have oversized hands, symbolizing what it meant to only arrive with what could be carried, the museum said.

It is based on a table of immigration statistics published in the Richard B. Morris Encyclopedia of American History.

“Lawrence created this body of work in the modern civil rights era to interpret pivotal moments of the American Revolution and the early decades of the republic as ongoing struggles,” Gordon said.

The panel has undergone restoration work and will join the exhibition “Struggle: From the History of the American People”, from Friday at the Seattle Art Museum until May 23, then at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC from June 26. until September 19.

This is the first time in more than 60 years that the pieces have been presented together.

Museum officials are hopeful that the discovery of panels 28 and 16 – which represent the Shays Revolt, the 1786-87 tax revolt in western Massachusetts, will lead to the discovery of the three remaining missing panels.

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