Collection 1940s–1970s

Marisol (Marisol Escobar). The Family. 1962 470

Paint and graphite on wood, sneakers, tinted plaster, door knob and plate, three sections, Overall 6' 10 5/8" x 65 1/2" x 15 1/2" (209.8 x 166.3 x 39.3 cm). Advisory Committee Fund. © 2023 Marisol

Curator, Sarah Suzuki: I'm Sarah Suzuki, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs at MoMA.

One of the things that I think is really great about this work is this very real depiction of a matriarch, of a mother. She's solid. She's steadfast. She's looking straight ahead at us. There are many moments in the Pop era where depictions of women are about glamour. You can think about Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe. This is a very different kind of image made by a woman artist, really thinking about the idea of motherhood and what that meant.

The family portrait is usually really polished. Everyone comes in their best and this one feels much more realistic. You know, not everyone is facing the camera. The little girl on the left is kind of looking off. Not everyone is smiling. It feels like a moment that's really out of reality.

The subject of these five people is actually derived from a photograph that Marisol found. Something that was left behind by a former occupant of the studio where she was working and she was really drawn to that image. She was using materials that she found around to be the structure and the support on which she was painting--a pair of French doors in the back and a real door knob. Taking the things of the everyday, things that traditionally maybe wouldn’t have been thought to be elevated subjects of art, but really the everydayness of the lives that we live and the people that are around us, that becomes our subject here.

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