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The Musicale, Barber Shop, Trenton Falls, New York (work of art)

Artwork Info

Created
1866
Artist
Thomas Hicks
Nationality
American
Birth/Death
1823-1890
Dimensions
25 x 30 1/8 in.
(63.5 x 76.5 cm)
Medium
Painting

Credit

Purchased with funds from the State of North Carolina

Culture
American

About

In nineteenth-century painting, African Americans are often associated with music and dance. (See Christian Mayr’s Kitchen Ball at White Sulphur Springs, Virginia, also in the Museum’s collection.) In The Musicale Thomas Hicks depicts an impromptu concert in the barbershop of a summer resort in upstate New York. Occupying a separate building on the hotel grounds, the shop was a male preserve, women by custom keeping a respectful distance. The dignified man frozen in mid-song is the hotel’s barber, William Brister. Among the accompanying musicians is a black fiddler who, like the barber, is rendered with none of the usual racial stereotyping. Even so, it is obvious the black men are not guests but employees of the hotel. It is only their musical talent that justifies their prominence in the picture.

 

tags: performance, instruments

 

Images

  • Thomas Hicks The Musicale, Barber Shop, Trenton Falls, New York 1866 painting

    The Musicale, Barber Shop, Trenton Falls, New York by Thomas Hicks