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Arts of North America

Art created in North America includes objects made by native cultures of the present-day United States and Canada; paintings and decorative arts produced during colonial times; 18th- and 19th-century masterpieces; and the work of contemporary artists and photographers.

© Dr. Krishna Dronamraju for Dorothy Hood
American, 1919 - 2000
Oil on canvas

120 x 96 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Meredith Long

Arts of North America

Dorothy Hood painted this beautifully balanced abstraction at a time when the island republic of Haiti was experiencing severe social repression. One of her first monumental paintings, the eloquent composition creates a sense of foreboding.

Hood's abstract canvases simultaneously evoke interior, psychic spaces and sweeping, natural landscapes. Trained at the Rhode Island School of Design, Hood moved to Mexico City in 1941, where she developed a lifelong interest in Surrealism and Latin American art. She continued to travel frequently to Central America after moving to Houston in 1962.

Haiti represents an unusually political statement for the artist. The swift-moving washes of gold earth tones and the blue and white of sky and sea are united under the shadow of an ominous black center. The painting conjures the island of Haiti as a "newly born wonder," she stated, lyrical yet tragic.