Alma Woodsey Thomas
September 22, 1891
Columbus, Georgia, U.S.
|Died||February 24, 1978 (aged 86)|
|Sky Light; Iris, Tulips, Jonquils and Crocuses; Watusi (Hard Edge); Wind and Crepe Myrtle Concerto; Air View of a Spring Nursery; Milky Way; Flowers at Jefferson Memorial; Untitled (Music Series); Red Rose Sonata; Breeze Rustling Through Fall Flowers; The Eclipse|
Alma Woodsey Thomas (September 22, 1891 – February 24, 1978) was an African-American artist and teacher who lived and worked in Washington, D.C., and is now recognized as a major American painter of the 20th century. Thomas is best known for the "exuberant", colorful, abstract paintings that she created after her retirement from a 35-year career teaching art at Washington's Shaw Junior High School.
Thomas, who is often considered a member of the Washington Color School of artists but alternatively classified by some as an Expressionist,she earned her teaching degree from University of the District of Columbia (known as Miner Normal School at the time) and was the first graduate of Howard University's Art department, and maintained connections to that university through her life. She achieved success as an African-American female artist despite the segregation and prejudice of her time.
Thomas's reputation has continued to grow since her death. Her paintings are displayed in notable museums and collections, and they have been the subject of several books and solo museum exhibitions. In 2021, a museum sold Thomas's painting Alma's Flower Garden in a private transaction for $2.8 million.
Life and work
Childhood, education, and early teaching positions
Alma Thomas was born on September 22, 1891, in Columbus, Georgia, as the oldest of four daughters, to John Harris Thomas, a businessman, and Amelia Cantey Thomas, a dress designer.: 16 Her mother and aunts, she later wrote, were teachers and Tuskeegee Institute graduates.: 3 She was creative as a child, although her serious artistic career began much later in life. While growing up, Thomas displayed her artistic capabilities, and enjoyed making small pieces of artwork such as puppets, sculptures, and plates, mainly out of clay from the river behind her childhood home. Despite a growing interest in the arts, Thomas was "not allowed" to go into art museums as a child. She was provided with music lessons, as her mother played the violin.: 3
In 1907, when Thomas was 16, the family moved to the Logan Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C., to escape racial violence in Georgia and to seek the benefits of the public school system of Washington. Her parents made this move despite that the family "kind of came down a bit," socially and economically, in leaving their upper-middle class life in Georgia. Describing the reason for the family move, she later wrote, "When I finished grade school in Columbus, there was nowhere that I could continue my education, so my parents decided to move the family to Washington.": 3 Other writers have pointed to the Atlanta race riots and racial massacre of 1906 as among the reasons her family left Georgia.: 18 As another example of the racial violence that her family faced in Georgia, Alma's father had an encounter with a lynch mob shortly before Alma was born, and her family attributed her poor hearing to the fright from that incident. Although still segregated, the nation's capital was known to offer more opportunities for African-Americans than most other cities. As she wrote in the 1970s, "At least Washington's libraries were open to Negroes, whereas Columbus excluded Negroes from its only library.": 3
In Washington, Thomas attended Armstrong Technical High School, where she took her first art classes.: 19 About them, she said "When I entered the art room, it was like entering heaven. . . . The Armstrong High School laid the foundation for my life." In high school, she excelled at math and science, and architecture specifically interested her. A miniature schoolhouse that she made from cardboard using techniques learned in her architecture studies at Armstrong was exhibited at the Smithsonian in 1912. Although she expressed an interest in becoming an architect, it was unusual for women to work in this profession and this limited her prospects.
After graduating from high school in 1911, she studied kindergarten education at Miner Normal School (now known as University of the District of Columbia), earning her teaching credentials in 1913.: 19 In 1914, she obtained a teaching position in the Princess Anne schools on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where she taught for four months.: 19 In 1915, she started teaching kindergarten at the Thomas Garrett Settlement House in Wilmington, Delaware, staying there until 1921.: 19
Thomas entered Howard University in 1921, at age 30, entering as a junior because of her previous teacher training. She started as a home economics student, planning to specialize in costume design, only to switch to fine art after studying under art department founder James V. Herring.: 19-20 : 27 Her artistic focus at Howard was on sculpture; the paintings she produced during her college education were described by Romare Bearden and Henry Henderson as "academic and undistinguished.": 447 She earned her Bachelors of Science in Fine Arts in 1924 from Howard, becoming the first graduate from the University's Fine Arts program, and also "possibly the first African-American woman" to earn a bachelors degree in art—or the first American woman of any racial background, as the artist Keith Anthony Morrison wrote that "it was said [in 1924] that she was the first woman in America ever to gain a bachelor’s degree in art.": 21 
Post-college teaching career, artistic involvement and development, and graduate study
In 1924, Thomas began teaching art at Shaw Junior High School, a Black school in the then-segregated public schools of Washington, D.C., where she worked until her retirement in 1960; she wrote, "I was there for thirty-five years and occupied the same classroom.": 13 [note 1] She taught alongside fellow artist Malkia Roberts.: 43 While at Shaw Junior High, she started a community arts program that encouraged student appreciation of fine art. The program supported marionette performances and the distribution of student designed holiday cards which were given to soldiers at the Tuskegee Veterans Administration Medical Center. Also, according to her reminiscences, "At Shaw, I organized the first art gallery in the D.C. public schools in 1938, securing paintings by outstanding Negro artists from the Howard Gallery of Art.": 23 : 4
The three and a half decades of Thomas's teaching career, 1924-1960, were described by Thurlow Tibbs, the D.C. African-American art dealer (and grandson of Thomas's friend Lillian Evans, the opera singer) as Thomas's "fermenting period;": 41 during them she absorbed many ideas and influences, and after 1960 from those ideas and influences she would create her own distinctive art. While she taught at Shaw Junior High, Thomas continued to pursue her art, her formal and informal education, and activities with the Washington, D.C. art community, the latter often in ways connected to Howard University.
During this time Thomas painted, especially in watercolor; while her style in the 1930s was described as still "quite traditional" and naturalistic, she has been called a "brilliant watercolorist.": 449, 450 Over summers, she would travel to New York City to visit art museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and galleries.: 448
During the summers of 1930 through 1934, she attended Teachers College of Columbia University, earning her Masters in Art Education in 1934; her studies focused on sculpture, and she wrote her thesis on the use of marionettes.: 11,23 : 447
In 1943, Thomas helped James W. Herring, her former professor at Howard, and Alonzo J. Aden found the Barnett-Aden Gallery, the first successful Black-owned private art gallery in the United States.: 2 She served as the gallery's Vice President. Thomas's association with the Barnett-Aden Gallery has been described as "critical to" and, according to curator Adelyn Dohme Breeskin, the "pivotal" development in, her development as a professional artist." It put her into contact with leading contemporary national artists, which "heightened her awareness of art trends and directions," and it provided exposure to local artists which "both challenged and inspired her.": 24 : 448 
In the 1940s Thomas also joined Lois Mailou Jones's artist community, "The Little Paris Group (or "Little Paris Studio," or "Little Paris Studio group"). This group of Black Washington artists was founded by Jones and Céline Marie Tabary, both artists and members of the Howard University art faculty (Jones from 1930 to 1977, and Tabary beginning in 1945). The date of the group's founding is described variously as during the German occupation of Paris (i.e., 1940-1944), "the late 1940s,": 24 1945, 1946, or 1948. It met either weekly or twice per week,: 24  at Jones' studio, the "Little Paris studio," in her home at 1220 Quincy Street NE, in Washington's Brookland neighborhood. It existed for five years.: 24 It offered developing artists an opportunity to paint from the model, to improve their techniques -- "developing skills and styles," and "to hone their skills and exchange critiques"—as well as a salon, or discussion forum—to "talk about the latest developments in modern art, particularly as it was centered in Paris." Other members of the group in addition to Jones and Tabary included Delilah Pierce and Thomas, as well as Bruce Brown, Ruth Brown, Richard Dempsey, Barbara Linger, Don Roberts, Desdemona Wade, Frank West, and Elizabeth Williamson. A photo, from Thomas's archives, of a 1948 gathering of the group shows thirteen artists and a male model.
Her involvement with the Little Paris Group is said to have inspired Thomas to seek further academic training at American University. One source states that in the early 1950s, "the A.U. art department was regarded in many quarters as 'the' avant-garde art department in the nation." Accordingly, in 1950, at the age of 59, she began a decade of studies at that university, taking night and weekend classes, studying Art History and painting.: 449  At American University she studied painting with Robert Franklin Gates and Ben "Joe" Summerford. But Jacob Kainen was her most influential teacher there, and would become a close friend for the rest of her lifetime. When Tomas studied with Kainin in fall 1957, he considered her as a fellow artist rather than as a student.: 11 Kainen had met Thomas in 1934, at the Barnet-Aden Gallery, and in 1957, he agreed to take over teaching an intensive year-long A.U. class for six selected top painting students, including Thomas, but the administration allowed 32 students, many of them beginners, to take the class and Kainen quit in frustration after one term.: 30
When Thomas began her advanced studies at American University in 1950, she was still a figurative painter. During the 1950s her style evolved in several major shifts, from figurative painting to cubism and then to abstract expressionism, with "monumental," dark paintings largely in blue and brown tones, to beginning to embrace the bright colors that she would later use in her signature style.: 25, 30-31
"Creative art is for all time and is therefore independent of time. It is of all ages, of every land, and if by this we mean the creative spirit in man which produces a picture or a statue is common to the whole civilized world, independent of age, race and nationality; the statement may stand unchallenged."
-Alma Thomas, 1970
Thomas would not become a full-time, professional artist until she was 68 or 69 years old, in 1960, when she retired from teaching.
Thomas was known to work in her home studio (a small living room), creating her paintings by "propping the canvas on her lap and balancing it against the sofa." She worked out of the kitchen in her house, creating works like Watusi (Hard Edge) (1963), a manipulation of the Matisse cutout The Snail, in which Thomas shifted shapes around and changed the colors that Matisse used, and named it after a Chubby Checker song.
In contrast with most other members of the Washington Color School, she did not use masking tape to outline the shapes in her paintings.: 451 Her technique involved drawing faint pencil lines across the canvas to create shapes and patterns, and filling in the canvas with paint afterwards. Her pencil lines are obvious in many of her finished pieces, as Thomas did not erase them.
Thomas's post-retirement artwork had a notable focus on color theory. Her work at the time resonated with that of Vasily Kandinsky (who was interested in the emotional capabilities of color) and of the Washington Color Field Painters, "something that endeared her to critics . . . but also raised questions about her 'blackness' at a time when younger African-American artists were producing works of racial protest." She stated, "The use of color in my paintings is of paramount importance to me. Through color I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness in my painting rather than on man's inhumanity to man.": 11 Speaking again about her use of color she said: "Color is life, and light is the mother of color."
In 1963, she walked in the March on Washington with her friend, the opera singer Lillian Evans. Although Thomas was largely an apolitical artist, she portrayed the 1963 event in a 1964 painting. A detail from that painting became a 2005 U.S. postage stamp commemorating the March on Washington.
Her first retrospective exhibit was in 1966 (April 24–May 17) at the Gallery of Art at Howard University, curated by art historian James A. Porter. It included 34 works from 1959 to 1966. For this exhibition, she created Earth Paintings, a series of nature-inspired abstract works, including Resurrection (1966), which in 2014 would be bought for the White House collection. Thomas and the artist Delilah Pierce, a friend, would drive into the countryside where Thomas would seek inspiration, pulling ideas from the effects of light and atmosphere on rural environments.
To meet the challenge posed by the Howard show, according to Romare Bearden and Henry Henderson, her style changed again, in a crucial way: "Thomas evolved the specific style now recognized as her signature - playing color against color and over color with small, irregular rectangular shapes of dense, often intense color.": 450 This exhibition received a supportive review from Helen Hoffman in The Washington Post of May 4, 1966, titled "colorful abstract reflects her spirit".
Inspired by the moon landing in 1969, Alma Thomas began her second major theme of paintings. The series Space, Snoopy and Earth were applying pointillism. She evoked mood by dramatic contrast of color with mosaic style, using dark blue against pale pink and orange colors, depicting an abstraction and accidental beauty through the use of color. Most of the works in these series have circular, horizontal and vertical patterns. These patterns are able to generate a conceptual feeling of floating. The patterns also generate energy within the canvas. The contrast of colors creates a powerful color segregation, and maintain visual energy.
In 1972, at the age of 81, Thomas was the first African-American woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and later the same year a much larger exhibition was also held at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.: 452 Thomas denied labels placed upon her as an artist and would not accept any barriers inhibiting her creative process and art career, including her identity as a black woman. She believed that the most important thing was for her to continue to create her visions through her own artwork and work in the art world despite racial segregation. Despite this, Thomas was still discriminated against as a black female artist and was critiqued for her abstract style as opposed to other Black Americans who worked with figuration and symbolism to fight oppression. Her works were featured alongside many other African-American artists in galleries and shows, such as the first Black-owned gallery in the District of Columbia.
After her show at the Whitney, Thomas's fame within the fine arts community immediately skyrocketed. Her newfound recognition was due in part to Robert Doty's vocal support of her, as he organized Thomas's Whitney show as part of a series of African-American artist exhibitions, intended to protest their lack of representation. New York critics were impressed with Thomas's modern style, especially given the fact that she was a nearly 80-year-old woman at the time of her national debut. The New York Times reviewed her exhibit four times, calling her paintings "expert abstractions, tachiste in style, faultless in their handling of color." Many white critics complimented her as “the Signac of current color painters” and as “gifted, ebullient abstractionist”. Alma Thomas's philosophy of her own art is that her works are full of energy, and those energies cannot be destroyed or created.
New York art curator and editor Thomas B. Hess bought Thomas's 1972 painting Red Roses Sonata, and in 1976 his family's foundation gave the piece to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.: 34  Joshua Taylor, director from 1970 to 1981 of the National Collection of Fine Arts (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum), also purchased some of her work, and wrote to Thomas in 1975, thanking her for a painting that hung in his living room: "It's like having Spring well before its appointed date."
Mary Beth Edelson's Some Living American Women Artists / Last Supper (1972) appropriated Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, with the heads of notable women artists collaged over the heads of Christ and his apostles; Alma Thomas was among those notable women artists. This image, addressing the role of religious and art historical iconography in the subordination of women, became "one of the most iconic images of the feminist art movement."
Thomas was, according to all evidence, never married. She told the New York Times in 1977 that she had "never married a man but my art. What man would have ever appreciated what I was up to?" She wrote, "Once upon a time it was said, don't die having a "Miss" on your tombstone. I feel very proud of having maintain[ed] my Miss. I say that Miss stand[s] for all the Jackasses I missed in life.": 34 She added, "A fine man is a delight, but for God sake don't get entangled with a Jackass.": 35 She had an active social life, with many artist friends. She reportedly "rarely missed" a museum or gallery opening in Washington.: 447
Thomas lived in the same family house in Washington, at 1530 15th Street, NW, for nearly her entire life, from 1907 when her family moved from Georgia so she could attend high school until her death in 1978 (aside from a few years in her 20s when she worked elsewhere). Her younger sister John Maurice Thomas, who was named for their father and had a career as a librarian at Howard University, shared the house with her.: 7 ) That home, now known as the Alma Thomas House, was built in about 1875 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Death and archives
Alma Thomas died on February 24, 1978, in Howard University Hospital, following aortal surgery.
Alma Thomas' early work was representational in manner. As a black woman, she focused her work on creative spirit rather than race or gender. Thomas believed that creativity should be independent of gender or race, creating works with a focus on accidental beauty and the abstraction of color.
After further education at American University and influenced by James V. Herring and Lois Mailou Jones, her work became more abstract. Toward the end of her life, her style moved "to a color-filled, impastoed geometric abstraction of tessellated brushstroke patterns." These paintings have been compared to Byzantine mosaics and the pointillist paintings of Georges-Pierre Seurat. Thomas' style has qualities similar to West African paintings as well as Byzantine mosaics.
Her watercolor and oil paintings incorporated the use of (sometimes overlapping) colorful rectangles. She continued to use this technique, in works which explored colors found in trees, flowers, gardens, and other natural imagery. Her painting Evening Glow was inspired in part by Thomas's interest in the colors of natural world: "The holly tree outside her living room intrigued Thomas with designs formed by its leaves against the window panes, and with patterns of light and shade cast on the floor and walls inside her home." She called her paintings 'Alma's Stripes,' as the overlapping shapes of paint created elongated rectangles. Later works were inspired by space exploration and the cosmos. The title of her 1972 painting, 'Mars Dust,' alluded to news stories of a dust storm on Mars.: 33 .
Later reactions, exhibits, and developments
Art historian Richard J. Powell wrote in 1997 about the position of Thomas and Sam Gilliam as the two best known African-American members of the Washington Color School, "While conversant with the works of fellow Washington Color School artists (Gene Davis, Morris Louis, and Kenneth Noland), they also addressed, through rhythmic and high key color abstract painting techniques, the social aspirations of Washington D.C.'s African American middle class." He continued by noting that in the 1960s Thomas "turned her back" on her earlier representational style "that would have been seen by D.C.'s arts community as ideologically conservative," in favor of "an abstract style inspired by horticulture, scientific color theory, and music." Powell described Thomas's 1976 Azeleas Singing and Dancing Rock and Roll Music as "skillfully negotiating the slippery pathways between nature and society," and "epitomize[ing] the integrationist mood of the times." The Washington Post described her as "a force in the Washington Color School".
Writing in 1998, art historian Sharon Patton described Thomas's 1973 Wind and Crepe Myrtle Concerto as "one of the most Minimalist Color-Field paintings ever produced by an African-American artist."
Although Thomas did not receive a monograph until 1998 when the Fort Wayne Museum exhibited a retrospective on the artist, the lateness of in-depth scholarly attention is not representative of her legacy and influence on the realm of Visual Arts. Jacob Kainen, her teacher at American University in autumn 1957,: 30 asserts that "Thomas played a key role in the development of abstract painting throughout the mid 20th century." Kainen wrote in the catalog of the Fort Wayne show that he met Thomas in 1943, at an event at the Barnett-Aden Gallery.: 30 Kainen remembers her at that time as "a small, slim woman whose elegance of dress and manner and unmistakable firmness of character made the matter of her size irrelevant.": 30 In the program of the 1966 Howard University Art Gallery's show "Alma W. Thomas: A Retrospective Exhibition, 1959-1966," Kainen is quoted as describing her as "the Signac of current color painters."
In 2009, two paintings by Thomas, including Watusi (Hard Edge), were chosen by First Lady Michelle Obama, White House interior designer Michael S. Smith (interior designer), and White House curator William Allman to be exhibited in the White House during the Obama presidency. Watusi (Hard Edge) was eventually removed from the White House due to concerns about the piece fitting into the space in Michelle Obama's East Wing office. Sky Light, on loan from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, hung in the Obama family private quarters.
In 2015, another of her paintings, Resurrection (1966), was prominently hung in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House, having been acquired for the White House collection in 2014 with $290,000 in funding from the White House Historical Association. It was "the first artwork by an African-American woman to hang in the public spaces of the White House and enter the permanent collection." The choice of Thomas for the White House collection was described as an ideal symbol for the Obama administration by The New York Times art critic Holland Cotter. Cotter described Thomas' work as "forward-looking without being radical; post-racial but also race-conscious."
In 2016, the exhibition Alma Thomas, described in promotional materials as "the first comprehensive look at the artist’s work in nearly twenty years," and as presenting "a wide range of evolution of Thomas's work from the late 1950s to her death in 1978," was organized by The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College and The Studio Museum in Harlem. This exhibition was curated by Ian Berry, Dayton Director of the Tang Museum and Lauren Haynes, Associate Curator, Permanent Collection at the Studio Museum in Harlem and supported by the Friends of the Tang. The exhibit's promotional material noted that "Thomas's patterned compositions, energetic brushwork and commitment to color created a singular and innovative body of work." They also noted that it "includes rarely exhibited watercolors and early experiments." This exhibition was divided into four sections: Move to Abstraction; Earth, Space, and Late Work.
In 2021, a new record price was set for Thomas's work when Alma's Flower Garden, painted in approximately 1968-1970, was deaccessioned by the Greenville County Museum of Art, which sold it in a private sale to an unidentified purchaser for $2.8 million. The museum had bought the painting in 2008 for $135,000.
An exhibition of her art entitled "Alma W. Thomas: Everything is Beautiful," co-organized by the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia and the Columbus Museum in Columbus, Georgia, opened on July 9, 2021, at the Chrysler Museum. It is scheduled to run there to October 3, 2021, following which it will run at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., in fall 2021, the Frist Art Museum in Nashville in spring 2022, and the Columbus Museum in summer 2022.
- Watercolors by Alma Thomas, 1960, Dupont Theatre Art Gallery
- Alma Thomas: A Retrospective Exhibition (1959-1966), 1966, Howard University Gallery of Art
- Alma Thomas: Recent Paintings, 1968, Franz Bader Gallery
- Recent Paintings by Alma W. Thomas: Earth and Space Series (1961–1971), 1971, Carl Van Vechten Gallery, Fisk University
- Alma W. Thomas, 1972, Whitney Museum of American Art
- Alma W. Thomas: Retrospective Exhibition, 1972, Corcoran Gallery of Art
- Alma W. Thomas: Paintings, 1973, Martha Jackson Gallery
- Alma W. Thomas: Recent Paintings, 1975, Howard University Gallery of Art
- Alma W. Thomas: Recent Paintings, 1976, H.C. Taylor Art Gallery, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
- A Life in Art: Alma Thomas, 1891-1978, 1981, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
- Alma W. Thomas: A Retrospective of the Paintings, 1998, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Tampa Museum of Art, New Jersey State Museum, Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution, and The Columbus Museum
- Alma Thomas: Phantasmagoria, Major Paintings from the 1970s, 2001, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, and Women's Museum: An Institution for the Future
- A Proud Continuum: Eight Decades of Art at Howard University, 2005, Howard University
- Color Balance: Paintings by Felrath Hines and Alma Thomas, 2010, Nasher Museum of Art
- Alma Thomas, 2016, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, and The Studio Museum in Harlem
- Alma Thomas: Resurrection Exhibition, 2019, Mnuchin Gallery 
- Alma W. Thomas: Everything is Beautiful, 2021, Chrysler Museum of Art
- Air View of a Spring Nursery, 1966;Columbus Museum
- Breeze Rustling Through Fall Flowers, 1968;Phillips Collection
- Earth Sermon - Beauty, Love and Peace, 1971; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
- Evening Glow, 1972; Baltimore Museum of Art
- Fiery Sunset, 1973; Museum of Modern Art
- Hydrangeas Spring Song, 1976;Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Iris, Tulips, Jonquils and Crocuses, 1969; National Museum of Women in the Arts
- Lunar Surface, 1970; American University Art Gallery
- Nature's Red Impressions, 1968 George Washington University, Luther W. Brady Art Gallery
- Mars Dust, 1972;Whitney Museum of American Art
- Pansies in Washington, 1969; National Gallery of Art (Corcoran Collection)
- Red Atmosphere, 1972; Tougaloo College Art Collections
- Red Azaleas Singing and Dancing Rock and Roll Music, 1976; Smithsonian American Art Museum
- Red Roses Sonata, 1972; The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Resurrection, 1968; White House Historical Association
- Snoopy Early Sun Display, 1970; Smithsonian American Art Museum
- Spring Embraces Yellow, 1973; University of Iowa, Stanley Museum of Art
- Starry Night and the Astronauts, 1972; Art Institute of Chicago
- Untitled: Music Series, 1978; Smithsonian American Art Museum
- Watusi (Hard Edge), 1963; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
- White Roses Sing and Sing, 1976; Smithsonian American Art Museum
- Wind and Crêpe Myrtle Concerto, 1973; Smithsonian American Art Museum
- Wind Sparkling Dew and Green Grass, 1973; Fort Wayne Museum of Art
- Wind, Sunshine and Flowers, 1968; Brooklyn Museum
- The number in this sentence is typed as "thirty-eight," but in one of the three copies, the "eight" is corrected by hand to "five."
- Thomas, Alma; Fort Wayne Museum of Art (1998). Alma W. Thomas: A Retrospective of the Paintings. Pomegranate. ISBN 9780764906862.
- Thomas, Alma, "Autobiographical Writings", Alma Thomas papers, circa 1894-2001, Box 2, Folder 7: Autobiographical Writings, circa 1960s-circa 1970s, Smithsonian Archives of American Art, retrieved December 12, 2020 (Cited page numbers refer to the 36 pages of the online folder, rather than numbers on particular pages in the folder.)
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- Patton, 220.
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- "Starry Night and the Astronauts". The Art Institute of Chicago.
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