{ "objects" : [ { "embark_ID" : 20774, "URL" : "https://webkiosk.gallerysystems.com/Objects-1/info/20774", "Disp_Access_No" : "2007.19", "_AccNumSort1" : "", "Disp_Create_DT" : "1963", "_Disp_Start_Dat" : "1963", "_Disp_End_Date" : "1963", "Disp_Title" : "Supper", "Alt_Title" : "", "Obj_Title" : "", "Series_Title" : "", "Disp_Maker_1" : "George Tooker", "Sort_Artist" : "Tooker, George", "Disp_Dimen" : "20 x 24 in. (50.8 x 61 cm)", "Disp_Height" : "20 in.", "Disp_Width" : "24 in.", "Dimen_Extent" : "without frame", "Medium" : "Tempera", "Support" : "board", "Disp_Medium" : "Tempera on board", "Info_Page_Comm" : "Supper was one of George Tooker’s “protest paintings.” Inspired by the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the artist chose the New Testament story of the supper at Emmaus to draw attention to the Civil Rights movement. In the biblical story, Jesus appeared as a stranger to two disciples after the Crucifixion. The disciples invited him to supper and only when Jesus blessed and broke the bread did they recognize him. In a year of great strife and bloodshed—1963 was marked by boycotts, the killing of African American civil rights activist Medgar Evers, and the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four young African American girls—Tooker chose to voice his protest by depicting an African American man as the enlightened, peace-filled Jesus in the moment preceding the revelation of his identity. [Summer 2015]", "Dedication" : "Marion Stratton Gould Fund", "Copyright_Type" : "Under Copyright", "Disp_Obj_Type" : "Painting", "Creation_Place2" : "American", "Department" : "", "Obj_Name" : "", "Period" : "", "Style" : "", "Edition" : "", "Curator" : "In trying to find out more about George Tooker’s visit to Selma Alabama in 1963 I ordered all the George Tooker papers available on reels in Winter 2008. The only reference I found to his trip to Alabama was in a publication of unknown origin that was somehow related to the 1967 exhibition George Tooker at Dartmouth College’s Jaffe Friede Gallery - the article titled “You’re Right in the Middle!” was written by Jeane Louise Smith. She writes about Supper, “The Christ is a Negro, shows as a thoroughly contemporary man of this day. He blesses the loaf which he is about to break and share. The men on either side, each holding the glass of wine, are deeply involved in the event and their expressions are those of reflective thought and emotion. Here is a moment of sharing life and thought in the depth of Christian agape. Supper is truly an amazing work of art which communicates quite clearly the thought and feeling of Christian brotherhood. It is not surprising then, to learn that George Tooker went to Selma to take part in the demonstrations: ‘There,’ he says, ‘one sensed the true meaning of agape.’” Some correspondence in Tooker’s papers illuminates his commitment to and involvement in the Civil Rights Movement around the time he painted Supper. In January of 1964, the director of the Birmingham Museum of Art, Richard F. Howard, wrote to George Tooker asking him to lend one of his paintings to an exhibition of “American painters of the Precise Image”. Tooker wrote back: "I am pleased that you would like to borrow one of my pictures for your exhibition. First, though, I would have to have your word of honor as director of the Birmingham Museum that the museum is not segregated in any way and that negro people are treated as equals of white people in your museum. When I receive such assurance then we can go into the matter of a suitable picture." Richard F. Howard’s response is slightly offended that Tooker should make such an assumption and assures the artist that, “Never since the Museum opened thirteen years ago has there been any discrimination againsy any people who behave themselves in this museum.” Tooker’s response: "I have delayed answering your letter of the 22nd because I had to get in touch with my dealers Durlacher Brothers in New York. They handle all my work at present. Mr. _____ at Durlacher Brothers informs me that all my pictures there are spoken for. Possibly with a little more advance notice it could be arranged another time. It might be quicker also to get in touch with them directly. I am sorry if my letter annoyed you. I feel so strongly that all men are brothers whatever their color that I don’t always realize that others feel as deeply committed to this as I do. Please forgive me if I was rude." SEE OBJECT FILE FOR COPIES OF THESE MATERIALS. Jessica Marten, Assistant Curator 3/10/08 On my courier trip to the National Academy of Design on September 24, 2008, I spoke with one of the curators of the exhibition, NAD curator Marshall Price, about this painting. He felt that it was a pivotal work in Tooker''s oeuvre, as it combined his growing interest in Civil Rights with his movement toward conversion to Catholicism. He also believes that the figures in the painting are Tooker and his partner, Bill Christopher: Tooker on the right and Christopher on the left. Marjorie Searl 10/1/2008", "Images": [ { "ImagePath" : "https://webkiosk.gallerysystems.com/Media/images/2007.19_A1.jpg", "ThumbnailPath" : "https://webkiosk.gallerysystems.com/Media/Thumbnails/2007.19_A1.jpg", "PreviewPath" : "https://webkiosk.gallerysystems.com/Media/Previews/2007.19_A1.jpg", "IIIF_URL": "http://iiif.gallerysystems.com/2007.19_A1.jpg", "IsPrimary" : "0", "_SurrogateID" : "25703", "Image_Type" : "digital image", "Photo_Credit" : "", "Remarks" : "On disk dated 2/18/08", "View" : "" } , { "ImagePath" : "https://webkiosk.gallerysystems.com/Media/images/2007.19_A2.jpg", "ThumbnailPath" : "https://webkiosk.gallerysystems.com/Media/Thumbnails/2007.19_A2.jpg", "PreviewPath" : "https://webkiosk.gallerysystems.com/Media/Previews/2007.19_A2.jpg", "IIIF_URL": "http://iiif.gallerysystems.com/2007.19_A2.jpg", "IsPrimary" : "1", "_SurrogateID" : "40764", "Image_Type" : "digital image", "Photo_Credit" : "", "Remarks" : "Rescanned from original transparency by Andy Olenick due to dust visible on _M1", "View" : "" } , ] }, ] }