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"Carmen Jones"

Object Name: Abstract
Date: 1944
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Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Overall: 19 1/2 x 24 in. ( 49.5 x 61 cm )
Description: The five "figures" dancing toward the right in a frieze-like manner and the action in this colorful canvas are painted in a style that walks a tightrope between surrealism and expressionism, as well as abstraction. Their movement was inspired by the musical "Carmen Jones," 1943.
Credit Line: Gift of the Estate of Laurie Vance Johnson and Edward Dudley Hume Johnson
Object Number: 2001.102
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Rather than documenting the theatrical production of "Carmen Jones" by Oscar Hammerstein II, the artist took the theme as a springboard to create this dynamic interpretation of the movement and power behind music, dance, and black culture. Based on the 19th century opera, Hammerstein moved the story from a cigarette factory in Spain to a parachute factory in the United States and used black dialect.


Wedding gift from the artist to Laurie Vance and Edward Dudley Hume Johnson