© Mickalene Thomas
Title: Din, Une Trés Belle Négresse 1
Date: 2012, printed 2015
Artist: Mickalene Thomas
born 1971
Medium: chromogenic print
60 x 50 in. (152.4 x 127 cm)
Credit Line: Funds given by Margery Fort Armstrong in honor of Jeffrey Fort’s birthday
Object Number: 134:2015
Current Location: Not On View
In this photograph, Mickalene Thomas captures the strength of the woman’s gaze, her halo of dark hair, and her voluptuously made-up lips. The vibrant patterns of her dress and the wall textile background compliment her features. The model, Din, was a medical student who regularly posed for Thomas. Yet the portrait depicts a character created by the artist through her staging of the setting and costume. Thus, the image becomes a more universal representation of a woman exuding sensual beauty, confidence, and self-awareness.

Thomas’ title, French for Din, A Very Beautiful Black Woman, acknowledges an earlier era with its use of the historically charged term “négresse.” Yet the title demonstrates a desire to create empowering associations with such words. In particular, Thomas employs a visual vocabulary that looks back to the 1970s—an era defined by powerful new images of black beauty found in popular media.

Signed: on verso: Mickalene Thomas
Exhibition History
Title: A Decade of Collecting Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
Date: January 29, 2016 - July 17, 2016
Venue: Saint Louis Art Museum
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