The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of March 3, 2024

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

(American, 1922–2015)
Sheet: 89.9 x 75.8 cm (35 3/8 x 29 13/16 in.); Platemark: 75 x 68.9 cm (29 1/2 x 27 1/8 in.)
© Estate of John Woodrow Wilson / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Location: not on view


In 1985 Wilson won a prestigious national competition to create a memorial statue of Martin Luther King Jr. for the United States Capitol's rotunda in Washington, DC. While the print, based on studies for the sculpture, faithfully describes the features of one of the 20th century's most famous and revered black leaders, it also captures the inner spirit of its subject. The near-life-sized, imposing frontality of the figure suggests strength and stability while his tilted head, slightly downturned eyes, and sloping shoulders convey weariness and vulnerability. Wilson explained, "You couldn't possibly grow up a black person without understanding the conflicts and anxieties in King." Here, the artist rendered King as both a hero and a man.
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art (1/26/2014 - 5/18/2014); "Our Stories: African American Prints and Drawings"
  • {{cite web|title=Martin Luther King, Jr. |url=false|author=John Wilson|year=2002|access-date=03 March 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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