Born in Paris to Venezuelan parents, Marisol is an artist with a global perspective. Raised throughout Europe and in Caracas, she came to the United States in 1946, where she attended high school in Los Angeles and later studied at the Art Student League and Hans Hoffman School in New York City.
Marisol’s work is difficult to categorize. Although primarily known as a sculptor, she works in many media. Loosely associated with the Abstract Expressionist and Pop Art movements, Marisol is also heralded as an early feminist and conceptual artist. This print depicts another multicultural woman—the seventeenth-century Indian princess Pocahontas. Derived from a period engraving (her only known life portrait) Pocahontas is shown not as a Native American heroine, but as the Christianized and “civilized” wife (Rebecca Rolfe) of an Englishman. By reversing the black and white tonality of the original print, Marisol reclaims Pocahontas as a woman of color. Produced in conjunction with the United States Bicentennial, the work carries satirical overtones about racial prejudice and ethnic assimilation, as well as a whitewashing of America’s history.
Venezuelan-American (born in Paris), 1930-2016
Pocahontas from An American Portrait, 1776–1976
Color lithograph on paper
Image/sheet: 26 1/8 x 19 3/4 in. (66.3 x 50.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of the Conair Corporation, 79.118.8
Large image not available.