Martin Luther King Jr.

John Wilson
Martin Luther King Jr.
John Wilson, Martin Luther King, Jr., 2002. Etching and aquatint with chine collé, 36 x 30 in. (image & sheet). Edition of 50. Museum purchase, Erna Bottigheimer Sands (Class of 1929) Art Acquisition Fund, 2010.101

John Wilson (b. 1922, Roxbury, Massachusetts) became involved in the civil rights movement in Boston in the 1960s and his studio became a meeting place for artists and political activists. Since the early 1980s, the subject of Martin Luther King, Jr. has dominated the artist’s oeuvre, which spans the mediums of drawing, print, and sculpture. This image, in etching and aquatint, was based on studies for Dr. King’s memorial statue, commissioned by the U.S. Capitol Building in 1985. The aesthetic with which Wilson portrays King here can be traced back to his work in the 1960s. In his representations of King, Wilson borrows the character of anonymity from his earlier work, which, paired with the energy and strength associated with King’s visage, create a sense of monumental universality.

Kelley Tialiou
Curatorial Assistant

Rachel Spaulding ’11
Student Curatorial Assistant

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