Object photography

View of the artwork on display in 'Gifts of the Spirit: Works by Nineteenth-Century & Contemporary Native American Artists'; Peabody Essex Museum; November 14, 1996 through May 18, 1997.
Click image to enlarge +

Object description

  • Judith Lowry (Maidu, Hamowi Pit River and Washoe, birth 1948)
  • American Tobacco Girl, 1994
  • Oil on canvas
  • California, United States
  • H: 55 1/4 in, W: 69 in (H: 140.3 cm, W: 175.3 cm)
  • Museum Purchase, 1999
  • E300428

INSCRIPTION

signed and dated verso, left stretcher edge in ink 'Judith Lowry 1994'

DESCRIPTION

In this painting the figure of the American Tobacco Girl is depicted in a central panel, wearing a leopard print shirt, a dentalia shell choker, a feather headdress and an American flag draped over her bare shoulder. The figure also holds a catlinite peace pipe. "American Tobacco Girl" and "5" cents is painted above and below the central figure. The American Tobacco Girl is surrounded by other visual references to landmarks and icons in American and Native American history, such as a landscape with teepees at the upper left, the image of a waterfall at the upper right, and old fashioned sailing vessels at the bottom right, and by doing so, she also probes at the notion of wholesale stereotyping of Natives in popular culture. The work is painted in bright colors with a dark red sky and blue water. Further Remarks: American Tobacco Girl is a giant cigar box lid and derives from 19th and 20th century tobacco advertisments that generally depicted exotic women--harem girls, gypsies, or American Indians--on their labels. Lowry adopts this imagery to critique the association of Native women's images with the guilty pleasure of smoking. The American flag is draped over American Tobacco Girl's bare shoulder, and she holds a peace pipe. Lowry makes other visual references to landmarks and icons in American and Native American history, and by doing so, she also probes at the notion of wholesale stereotyping of Natives in popular culture.

Exhibition History

  • Upcoming Exhibition, Peabody Essex Museum; 2015 through Present
  • Intersections, Native American Art in a New Light, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.; June 24, 2006 through November 27, 2011

COPYRIGHT HOLDER

Judith Lowry