Mickalene Thomas

BORN 1971 | CAMDEN, NJ | Lives in Brooklyn, NY



ICA Collection: Expanding the Field of Painting

Mickalene Thomas 
Monet’s Salon, 2012
Rhinestones, acrylic, oil, and enamel on wood panel
Promised gift of Fotene Demoulas and Tom Coté

Mickalene Thomas is best known for vibrant, rhinestone-adorned paintings of African American women and the interiors they inhabit. Through a rigorous three-part process, she meticulously composes layers of bold patterns and bright blocks of color. She begins by taking a photograph, which she then cuts up. Fragmenting, deconstructing, and recontextualizing the interior space, she reassembles the image as a collage. Finally, she reproduces the collage––at a greatly expanded scale––in acrylic, oil, and enamel paint, and adorns it with Swarovski rhinestones. 

Thomas made Monet’s Salon after spending time at the house and garden of French Impressionist painter Claude Monet (1840–1926) in Giverny, France. Collapsing foreground and background, she presents a fragmented perspective of the interior space. This fragmentation is reminiscent of the experiments of modernist painters like Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger, and Romare Bearden, who fractured the picture plane and enlivened the canvas with vibrant color combinations. 

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