Alma Thomas at The Studio Museum in Harlem, through October 30, 2016

“Through color, I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness, rather than on man’s inhumanity to man.” — Alma Thomas, 1970

“Alma Thomas (1891–1978) is best known for her signature colorful abstract paintings. Thomas’s patterned compositions, energetic brushwork and commitment to color created a singular and innovative body of work. This exhibition is the first comprehensive look at the artist’s work in nearly twenty years and includes rarely exhibited watercolors and early experiments.

Divided into four sections: Move to Abstraction; Earth; Space; and Mosaic, this exhibition presents a wide-ranging look at Thomas’s evolving practice from the late 1950s to her death in 1978. Thomas’s artworks are inspired by a variety of subject matter from the civil rights movement to the United States space program (NASA) to the daily experience of her Washington, DC garden. Nearly four decades after her death, Thomas’s work continues to influence generations of artists and resonate with myriad audiences.” (…) — Introductory Wall Text


Yellow and Blue, 1959. Oil on canvas, 28 × 40 in. Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York.


Untitled, 1960. Oil on canvas, 24 × 30 in. Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York.


Breeze Rustling Through Fall Flowers, 1968. Acrylic on Canvas, 58 7/8 × 50 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington DC; gift of Franz Bader, 1976.


Iris, Tulips, Jonquils, and Crocuses, 1969. Acrylic on canvas, 60 × 50 in. National Museum of Women in the Arts; gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay.


End of Autumn, 1968. Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 25 × 25 in. Collection of Richard Grossman and Adam Sheffer.


Snoopy Sees Earth Wrapped in Sunset, 1970. Acrylic on canvas, 47 7/8 × 47 7/8 in. Smithsonian American Art Museum; gift of the artist.


Apollo 12 “Splash Down”, 1970. Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 50 1/4 × 50 1/4 in. Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York.


Stars and Their Display, 1972. Acrylic on canvas, 22 × 27 in. Private Collection, Highland Park, IL.


Arboretum Presents White Dogwood, 1972. Acrylic on canvas, 67 7/8 × 54 7/8 in. Smithsonian American Art Museum; Bequest of the artist.


Cherry Blossom Symphony, 1973. Acrylic on canvas, 69 × 54 in. Collection of halley k harrisburg and Michael Rosenfeld, NY.


Scarlet Sage Dancing a Whirling Dervish, 1976. Acrylic on canvas, 72 × 52 in. Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York.


White Roses Sing and Sing, 1976. Acrylic on canvas, 72 1/2 × 52 3/8 in. Smithsonian American Art Museum; Bequest of the artist.

Alma Thomas is organized by The Studio Museum in Harlem and the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College. This exhibition is curated by Lauren Haynes, Associate Curator, Permanent Collection, at the Studio Museum and Ian Berry, Dayton Director of the Tang Museum.

Installation view photo by Adam Reich. Images courtesy The Studio Museum in Harlem.