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“Mother” Brown

Photography

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“Mother” Brown

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Clarence John Laughlin
American, 1905–1985

Date

1945, printed 1979

Medium

Gelatin silver print

Accession #

2015.425

Dimensions

Please contact the Museum for more information.

Location

Currently Not on View

Description

Laughlin, who was raised Catholic, addresses the layered religious history of his native New Orleans in this work. He photographed an African American woman who was the leader of a “religious cult, in which there were some traces of Voodooism,” but who wears a Christian cross around her neck and a nun’s habit. He framed her under the archway of a temple such that the building’s shadow forms a sickle shape over her head, “suggesting the shadow of superstition.”

Credit

Gift of Joshua Mann Pailet in honor of his mother, Charlotte Mann Pailet; her family members Josef, Jiri and Alma Beran Mann, all of whom perished in the Holocaust; and Sir Nicholas Winton, the British hero who orchestrated Charlotte’s escape with 669 Czechoslovakian children in 1939 Abbreviated version: Gift of Joshua Mann Pailet in honor of his mother, Charlotte Mann Pailet, her family, and Sir Nicholas Winton