This print of abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth by American artist Richard Yarde entered the Mead’s collection in 2002. A unique connection between artist and subject: they both lived, though at different times, in Northampton, Massachusetts, a neighboring town of Amherst College. In 1844, Truth joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, which was founded by abolitionists and supported a broad reform agenda including women’s rights and pacifism. Yarde, born in Boston, lived in Northampton while teaching as Professor of Art at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst from 1990 until his death in 2011.
Many features written about Yarde note that his work often combines elements of American culture with aspects of his own personal history. For example, Yarde attributes the square patterns that serve as a background for this print, as well as many others, to the quilt stitching patterns his grandmother made (Danforth Museum exhibition write-up in Metrowest Daily News).
To see more of Yarde’s work from the Mead’s collection, click here.
To see even more of his work, and to read more about him, visit the links below.
image source: Sojourner Truth
Further reading about Richard Yarde:
Danforth Museum exhibition write-up in Metrowest Daily News
Artist Biography by R. Michelson Galleries
MassLive memorial press release