January 19–October 14, 2013

Loïs Mailou Jones

Works from every stage of the pioneering black woman artist's career

“Loïs Mailou Jones” presents 30 paintings and drawings by the distinguished, internationally acclaimed graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Born and raised in Boston, Jones attended the SMFA during high school and earned a scholarship that enabled her to receive her degree in Design with honors in 1927. In 1937, she took a sabbatical from her teaching job at Howard University and spent a year in Paris, where she attended the Académie Julian, frequented museums and galleries, and noted in an interview in the Women’s Art Journal that she was far freer as an African American woman in Paris than she was in the art world in the United States. After her marriage to Haitian graphic artist Louis Vergniaud Pierre-Noël in 1953, Jones found inspiration in the spiritual beliefs, sights, and sounds of Haiti. A trip to Africa in 1970 to meet with contemporary artists there brought to fruition Jones’s earlier interest in African art. This exhibition presents works from every stage of Jones’s artistic career, beginning with her early copies after objects in the Museum’s collections, her teaching career at Howard University, and the travels that shaped her distinctive vision and contributions to American art.

Above: Loïs Mailou Jones, La Baker (detail), 1977. Acrylic and collage on canvas. Gift of the Lois Mailou Jones Pierre-Noel Trust.

  • Bernard and Barbara Stern Shapiro Gallery (Gallery 231)


Presented with generous support from the Eugenie Prendergast Memorial Fund, made possible by a grant from Jan and Warren Adelson, and the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Exhibition Fund.