Cover image for Alma W. Thomas : a retrospective of the paintings.
Alma W. Thomas : a retrospective of the paintings.
Thomas, Alma.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Pomegranate, [1998]

Physical Description:
144 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 28 cm
General Note:
"Fort Wayne Museum of Art."

Catalog of an exhibition organized by and held at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, Ind., Sept. 5-Nov. 8, 1998 and touring nationally through Jan. 9, 2000.
Personal Subject:
Added Corporate Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ND237.T5517 A4 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



The passion and talent of African American painter Alma Woodsey Thomas (1891-1978) shines through each of the full-color reproductions in this elegant book, the first comprehensive text published on Thomas's life and work in over fifteen years. A gifted and dedicated artist whose life spanned vast social and political changes, Thomas steadfastly forged her path without regard to political or social expectations from the art world. In 1924 she became the first graduate of Howard University's newly organized art department, and in 1972 she became the first African American woman to hold a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. This is the exhibition catalog for the show organized by the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, scheduled to travel to several American museums through January 2000.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

A wrongfully overlooked African American artist, Thomas exerts a deep fascination by virtue of her admirable life and her chromatically dynamic abstract paintings. Born in 1891, Thomas was Howard University's first fine arts graduate. She remained in Washington, D.C., and taught junior high for 35 years before focusing full time on her art. The first African American woman artist to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Thomas kept on painting and experimenting right up until her death in 1978. As Judith Wilson, assistant professor of African American studies and art history at the University of California, Irvine, Tritobia Hayes Benjamin, director of the Howard University Gallery of Art, and the five other contributors to this handsomely produced and enjoyably informative volume explain, color was the primary theme of both Thomas' art and her life. Color was the subject of her brilliantly hued paintings, and, as an artist of color, she navigated the waves of invisibility and visibility dictated by each decade's racial mores. Inspired by both nature and technology, Thomas always followed her own inner vision, transcending the politics of art and race to celebrate grace and beauty. --Donna Seaman

Library Journal Review

A pioneering figure in African American art history, Driskell has been honored on his retirement from the University of Maryland with an exhibition of selected works from his seminal collection. This accompanying catalog is intended as an homage to Driskell as scholar, teacher, artist, patron, and collector. The selected works were created from the mid-1800s to the early 1990s and are here grouped into historical periods based on the content of the art and what they say about the social, ethnic, and creative roles of the artists. Unique emphasis is placed on the influence of African American art teachers and institutions in fostering the development of black art. Essays by distinguished scholars provide background to the collection; especially interesting is Sharon Patton's history of African American art collecting. Narratives notes that Alma Thomas (1891-1978) "contradicted assumptions about appropriate subject matter and styles for African American artists [and]...rejected suggestions that she paint `black' subjects." The Fort Wayne Museum, IN, exhibition and catalog of over 50 of her paintings clearly demonstrates that Thomas's work is firmly rooted in the modernist tradition of abstractionÄwith emphasis on vibrant colors generating geometric forms set in dynamic compositions. Four scholarly essays explicate her work and unique role in modern American art as a black woman artist. Both of these volumes are highly recommended for libraries with an interest in art and/or ethnic studies.ÄEugene C. Burt, Art Inst. of Seattle Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.