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Jo Baker’s Birthday

Acrylic on canvas with tie-dyed and printed fabric
Made in
New York, New York, United States, North and Central America
Associated with
France, Europe
Fiber art
Current Location
On View, Gallery 248
74 1/4 x 78 1/2 in. (188.6 x 199.4 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Minority Artists Purchase Fund, the Honorable Carol E. Jackson, Casually Off-Grain Quilters of Chesterfield, Mr. and Mrs. Steven M. Cousins, Mr. and Mrs. Lester A. Crancer Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Solon Gershman, Mr. Sidney Goldstein in memory of Chip Goldstein, The Links, Inc., Gateway Chapter, the Honorable and Mrs. Charles A. Shaw, Donald M. Suggs, the Thimble & Thread Quilt Guild, and funds given in honor of Cuesta Benberry
© 2020 Faith Ringgold / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Object Number
This painted quilt tells a story of a fictional African American artist living in France in the 1920s. Throughout a series of such quilts, the character Willia Marie Simone encounters important European artists as well as influential African American women. Through Willia, artist Faith Ringgold reshaped the past to redress the absence of Black figures in art history. In panels of text along the top and bottom of the quilt, Willia explains that she is painting a portrait of the famous St. Louis-born dancer Josephine Baker. In the background at right is a section of French artist Henri Matisse’s painting "Harmony in Red." Regarding her choice of the quilt as a medium, Ringgold has said, “Feminist art is soft art, lightweight art, sewing art…Women’s art is less rigid, and it’s open to all kinds of new innovations.”
- 1993
Faith Ringgold Inc., Englewood, NJ, acting as agent to artist [1]

1993 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Faith Ringgold Inc. [2]

[1] Invoice dated December 7, 1993 [SLAM document files].

[2] Minutes of the Collections Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, January 19, 1994.
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