Collections: American Art: Web of Life

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On View: Relief of Mourning Men, Roughly Rectangular Slab

This relief fragment shows two men, on the right, who make the gestures of mourners. The small cuts in the stone surface above and in front ...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Gull

    In this eerie still life, Marsden Hartley suspended a white seagull against a dark background. The artist used gulls, crabs, and lobsters in...


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    2011.50_PS6.jpg CUR.2011.50_artist_photograph.jpg CUR.2011.50.jpg 2011.50_detail4_PS6.jpg 2011.50_detail3_PS6.jpg 2011.50_detail1_PS6.jpg 2011.50_detail2_PS6.jpg CUR.2011.50_detail_artist_photograph.jpg CUR.2011.50_detail1.jpg CUR.2011.50_detail2.jpg CUR.2011.50_detail3.jpg CUR.2011.50_detail4.jpg

    Web of Life

    This work is the final design for a twenty-six-foot mural, Web of Life (Texas Southern University Art Gallery, Houston), for the Nabrit Science Hall at Texas Southern University. John Biggers described its subject as “the interdependence of living organisms in the balance of nature, and the relationship of all organisms to one another through the long line of evolutionary descent.” Biggers centered the image on an essential earth mother, from whom creation expands in a delicately described network of lifeforms and sequential seasonal settings. Throughout, he paired oppositional references to life and death (winter and summer), male and female (the two nudes), and Africa and America (in vignettes of harvest and sowing). A leading twentieth-century African American painter and muralist, Biggers drew inspiration from the Mexican Mural Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s, while also infusing the composition with the kind of organic, cellular design that was so current in midcentury American art.

    • Artist: John Biggers, American, 1924-2001
    • Medium: Tempera on Wood
    • Dates: 1958
    • Dimensions: 22 x 92 in. (55.9 x 233.7 cm)  (show scale)
    • Inscriptions: Inscribed on verso: "Web of Life / Mural Sketch / Nabrett Science Hall / T.S.U. Houston / John Biggers"
    • Collections:American Art
    • Museum Location: This item is on view in American Identities: A New Look, American Landscape, 5th Floor
    • Accession Number: 2011.50
    • Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Fund for African American Art and Florence B. and Carl L. Selden Fund
    • Rights Statement: © artist or artist's estate
    • Caption: John Biggers (American, 1924-2001). Web of Life, 1958. Tempera on Wood, 22 x 92 in. (55.9 x 233.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum Fund for African American Art and Florence B. and Carl L. Selden Fund, 2011.50. © artist or artist's estate
    • Image: overall, 2011.50_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
    • Record Completeness: Good (71%)
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