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Hammer with Braille

Artist Stephen Althouse (American, born 1948)
Title Hammer with Braille
Series Tools and Shrouds
Date 2003
Medium Inkjet print
Dimensions Image: 42 × 30 7/8 in. (106.7 × 78.4 cm)
Sheet: 42 × 30 7/8 in. (106.7 × 78.4 cm)
Framed: 43 5/8 × 32 1/2 × 2 1/16 in. (110.8 × 82.6 × 5.2 cm)
Credit Line Gift of Lawrence and Lucienne Glaubinger, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 2010.59

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About this Work

The product of a rural Pennsylvania upbringing and a Quaker education, Stephen Althouse is intrigued by simple everyday objects and what they signify about the interconnectedness of our secular and spiritual lives. This image—from his Tools and Shrouds series—serves as a metaphor for work, struggle, faith, and hope. Presented on a large scale with remarkable detail, the image invites us to imagine the hammer’s history and that of its user through its surface appearance. Added digitally by the artist, the Braille text (Latin “Dona nobis,” meaning “give us”) suggests an enigmatic prayer, what one critic has read as a fragmentary plea made by the creator of the tool for all of humanity. By altering reality and adding language, Althouse presents us with a postmodern take on a traditional trompe l'oeil still-life.

Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

Series Title Tools and Shrouds

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"Hammer with Braille | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.