La Baker

Loïs Mailou Jones (American, 1905–1998)


40 1/2 x 56 1/2 inches

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Acrylic and collage on canvas

On View

John Axelrod Gallery (Gallery 326)


Americas, Contemporary Art



Working for more than seven decades and in a broad range of styles, Dr. Lois Mailou Jones enjoyed a remarkable career that drew inspiration from France, Haiti, and Africa, as well as her native New England. Born in Boston in 1905, Jones began her career at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, graduating in 1927 with a diploma in design. Her paintings reflect the areas in which she lived, traveled, and studied. Although Jones’ experience of being a black artist in America extends from the Harlem Renaissance to the ‘roots’ movements of the 1980s, her art, according to Christine Temin of the Boston Globe (10/21/92), remained “more personal than political, more sophisticated and complex than propagandistic”.
In La Baker, bold patterns and figures overlap and intertwine, creating a highly stylized work that unites form and color. The artist’s affinity for abstraction and her African roots is evident in the canvas’ rich colors and resolutely two-dimensional style. The title references Josephine Baker (1906-1975) who is known for being the first woman of African descent to star in a major motion picture, to integrate an American concert hall, and to become a world famous entertainer. She is also noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, and for being an inspiration to generations of African-American women.


the artist; to her estate; to MFA, 2006, gift of the Lois Mailou Jones Pierre-Noel Trust.

Credit Line

Gift of the Loïs Mailou Jones Pierre-Noël Trust


© Lois Mailou Jones Pierre-Noel Trust