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About the artist:
Selma Hortense Burke (December 31, 1900 – August 29, 1995) was an American sculptor and a member of the Harlem Renaissance movement. Burke is best known for a bas relief portrait of President Franklin D. Roosevelt which may have been the model for his image on the obverse of the dime. She described herself as "a people's sculptor" and created many pieces of public art, often portraits of prominent African-American figures like Duke Ellington, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Booker T. Washington. In 1979, she was awarded the Women's Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award.
Selma Burke sculpted portraits of famous African-American figures as well as lesser-known subjects. She also explored human emotion and family relationships in more expressionistic works. While she admired the abstract modernists, her work was more concerned with rendering the symbolic human form in ways both dignified and symbolic. She worked in a wide variety of media including wood, brass, alabaster, and limestone.
Burke's public sculpture pieces include a bust of Duke Ellington at the Performing Arts Center in Milwaukee, as well as works on display at the Hill House Center in Pittsburgh, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City, Atlanta University, Spelman College, and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Her last monumental work, created in 1980 when she was 80 years old, is a bronze statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Charlotte, N.C.
Burke was among the artists featured at The National Urban League's inaugural exhibition at Gallery 62 in 1978. She had solo exhibitions at Princeton University and the Carnegie Museum, among other venues. Her work is held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the James A. Michener Museum of Art in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
Selma Hortense Burke (December 31, 1900 – August 29, 1995) was an American sculptor and a member of the Harlem Renaissance movement. Burke is best known for a bas relief portrait of President Franklin D. Roosevelt which may have been the model
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