- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
Kara Walker, American (Stockton, California born 1969)
Published by LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies, Columbia University
- Confederate Prisoners being Conducted from Jonesborough to Atlanta
- Other Titles
- Series/Book Title: Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated)
- Work Type
Level 1, Room 1120, Modern and Contemporary Art, Kara Walker's U.S.A. Idioms
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- Physical Descriptions
- Offset lithograph and screen print
- image: 61 x 88.9 cm (24 x 35 in.)
sheet: 99.1 x 134.6 cm (39 x 53 in.)
- Inscriptions and Marks
- Signed: Signed and dated lower right in graphite pencil
- [Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts], sold; to Harvard Art Museum, January 2008.
- State, Edition, Standard Reference Number
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Margaret Fisher Fund
- © Kara Walker, Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- Modern and Contemporary Art
- The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
- This print is from Kara Walker's provocative 2005 series, Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated). The fifteen prints in this series combine enlarged lithographic reproductions from Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War, 1866 and 1868, with Walker’s characteristically haunting silhouettes screen printed over them. Walker’s work deals with related issues, and although her use of images from Harper’s Civil War publications is new to this series, the imagery from it and other like pamphlets and periodicals has always informed her work. As Walker has said, “These prints [from Harper’s] are the landscapes that I imagine exist in the back of my somewhat more austere wall pieces.” For years, she has been exploiting the form of eighteenth-century silhouettes, creating black paper cutouts, paintings, and projections for walls, as well as linocuts and other prints that mimic the appearance of Victorian paper silhouettes. In this print series, by eclipsing the Harper’s images with enigmatic black figures engaged in often inscrutable acts, Walker obscures, disrupts, and/or augments the illustrative function of these seemingly objective historical documents. In doing so, she suggests that the underpinnings of racism in America were solidified during the Civil War period rather than eradicated with the abolition of slavery. The effect is a compelling visual exploration of race, slavery, gender, and politics against the backdrop of the War Between the States, and a fitting tribute to Harvard’s new president.
To commemorate Drew Gilpin Faust’s inauguration as president of Harvard University, in 2007 the Art Museums exhibited this series. The installation of Walker’s prints was especially apposite to honor President Faust’s appointment. Faust is a leading scholar of the Civil War and the American South, and has written extensively on its history. Her work includes explorations of the ways in which the war transformed traditional gender roles, the ideology of slavery, and the impact of the war’s enormous death toll, among other subjects.
- Exhibition History
32Q: 1120 Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/25/2019 - 06/01/2019
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