The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of March 5, 2024

Portrait of Three Young Boys

Portrait of Three Young Boys

1971, printed 2005
(Malian, 1936–2016)
Image: 39.1 x 29.8 cm (15 3/8 x 11 3/4 in.)
Location: not on view

Did You Know?

Bell-bottomed pants are called “pattes d’éléphant” or “elephant paws” in French.


Portrait of Three Young Boys is a study in fashion and facade. The boys sport fashionably wide trousers, which were the latest trend in Mali in 1971, and wild plaid and windowpane check fabrics. Their stances echo the poses they had seen on movie posters and in fashion and music magazines: legs apart, chests forward, expressions fierce. They are poseurs, hoping to impress with their masculinity and stylishness.
  • Attached to the back of this photograph is self-adhesive frame sealing tape with an aluminum layer. The tape forms an effective vapor barrier when placed over the rabbets of a wooden frame or to seal backing boards to frames. Additionally, it can be used to construct an enclosure to protect artwork from common factors of deterioration like moisture, humidity, dust, and insects. Though this type of tape is used in framing and serves a preservation purpose, it is not meant to be directly adhered to photographs as seen here. Since it is not original to the photograph or artist’s intent, it would be beneficial to remove the tape with treatment.
  • ?-2022
    (Throckmorton Fine Art, New York, NY), sold to The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
    December 5, 2022-
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • {{cite web|title=Portrait of Three Young Boys|url=false|author=Malick Sidibé|year=1971, printed 2005|access-date=05 March 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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