• Portrait of a Free Woman of Color by François Fleischbein

    François (Franz) Fleischbein: Portrait of a Free Woman of Color, 1837; oil on canvas; The Historic New Orleans Collection.

  • Lucia Olubunmi Momoh

Tea Time Thursday: Art of Erasure with Lucia Momoh

Open to Curator’s Circle members at the $1,000 level and above

Please join us for ART OF ERASURE: Antebellum Portraits of Free Black Women with Curatorial Assistant Lucia Olubunmi Momoh

At times, the treatment of artworks depicting Black women reveals more about the prejudices of art historians, critics, and museum specialists than the women portrayed. Using as a case study a twentieth-century art restorer’s drastic alterations to an 1837 portrait of an unidentified woman of African descent, Curatorial Assistant Lucia Olubunmi Momoh investigates how the restorer’s removal of signifiers of wealth fits a pattern of historical erasure common in the US South. Moving beyond the “restoration”, Momoh brings the antebellum painting in conversation with parallel works in BAMPFA’s collection to discuss the importance of portraiture as a tool for social intervention for Black women during the nineteenth century.

This edition of the Virtual Tea Room offers members a sneak peek of Momoh’s presentation for the 2021 College Art Association conference, as well as her contribution to an upcoming book on the topic of impact of Black Americans on early-U.S. art history and culture.

Lucia Olubunmi Momoh joined BAMPFA in January 2019. She has since supported several exhibitions, including Ron Nagle: Handsome DrifterRosie Lee Tompkins: A Retropective, and Sylvia Fein / MATRIX 275. She performed as lead curator for Peace Now! and the 2019 art installation at University House for Chancellor Carol Christ. Lucia was a recipient of the 2019 American Association of Museum Curators Conference Travel Fellowship for Junior Curators. She previously worked as a curatorial fellow at the New Orleans Museum of Art and is a contributing writer for The Iron Lattice. Her research explores the role of early American portraits, especially those depicting Americans of African descent, and the formation of national identities.

This event is the last installation in our biweekly conversation series for Curator’s Circle members at the $1,000 level and above in 2020. We will resume this series in January 2021.

This event is open to Curator’s Circle members at the $1,000 level and above. Space is limited, and reservations will be taken on a first come, first served basis. Registered participants will receive an email with a secure event link on October 27.

Please contact Director of Special Events Masha Berek at mberek@berkeley.edu for more information or to register.