Morisca Woman and Albino Girl (Morisca y albina)

* Nearly 20,000 images of artworks the museum believes to be in the public domain are available to download on this site. Other images may be protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. By using any of these images you agree to LACMA's Terms of Use.

Morisca Woman and Albino Girl (Morisca y albina)

Mexico, circa 1760
Paintings
Oil on canvas
Unframed: 36 × 28 in. (91.4 × 71.1 cm) Framed: 41 1/2 × 34 × 1 1/2 in. (105.41 × 86.36 × 3.81 cm)
Purchased with funds provided by the Bernard and Edith Lewin Collection of Mexican Art Deaccession Fund (M.2009.62)
Currently on public view:
Resnick Pavilion, floor 1 MAP IT
Resnick Pavilion, floor 1

Since gallery displays may change often, please contact us before you visit to make certain this item is on view.

Provenance

Gerald Paget, New York, mid-1960s; Paget family, New York, 1990s; Derek Johns Ltd., London, 2009; LACMA, 2009.

Label

While most casta paintings represent racially mixed couples with their children, this canvas depicts a morisca (a woman of African descent identified by her characteristic overblouse)

...

While most casta paintings represent racially mixed couples with their children, this canvas depicts a morisca (a woman of African descent identified by her characteristic overblouse) and her albino child. Thought to descend only from people of African origin, albinos elicited endless fascination on both sides of the Atlantic, leading to all sorts of bizarre theories about their ability to reproduce, or whether their bodies proved how mixed individuals could eventually revert to the so-called original whiteness of humankind (that is, of “blood mending”). Paintings such as this would have spurred speculation about the increasingly mixed population of the Americas and its habits, including widespread tobacco use among women. (Note the cigarette case held by the mother.)


From exhibition Archive of the World, 2022 (for more information see the catalogue entry by Ilona Katzew in the accompanying publication, cat. no. 38, pp. 186–89)
More...

Bibliography

  • Katzew, Ilona, ed. Painted in Mexico, 1700–1790: Pinxit Mexici. Exh. Cat. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Mexico City: Fomento Cultural Banamex; New York: DelMonico Books/Prestel, 2017.
  • Katzew, Ilona, ed. Painted in Mexico, 1700–1790: Pinxit Mexici. Exh. Cat. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Mexico City: Fomento Cultural Banamex; New York: DelMonico Books/Prestel, 2017.
  • Katzew, Ilona, ed. Archive of the World: Art and Imagination in Spanish America, 1500–1800: Highlights from LACMA’s Collection. Exh. Cat. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art; New York: DelMonico Books/D.A.P., 2022.
More...

Exhibition history

  • Archive of the World: Art and Imagination in Spanish America, 1500–1800 Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, June 12, 2022 - October 30, 2022