Dancing at the Louvre Postcard

by Faith Ringgold

In Dancing at the Louvre, Ringgold tells a story in which the main character of the French Collection series, Willia Marie Simone, is taken to the Louvre by a friend who has three daughters. Dancing together under a trio of canonical Western paintings by European men, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and versions of Madonna and child, the five joyous Black females provide a counternarrative to the representations of white femininity on offer in the museum.

Instead of portraying the care of children as strictly the purview of mothers, Ringgold articulates a more capacious and collaborative vision of maternal love that includes extended familial formations outside the normative couple. The quilt centers a Black girl as the focal point of the image, and her smiling face and outstretched arms—her legs swinging in the air as she is kept aloft between two women—serve as a marked contrast to the inscrutability and framed bodily reserve of the Mona Lisa.

4 x 6 inches; made in NYC.

Artwork referenced: Faith Ringgold, Dancing at the Louvre: The French Collection Part I, #1, 1991. Acrylic on canvas, printed and tie-dyed pieced fabric, and ink, 73 1/2 × 80 1/2 in (186.7 × 204.5 cm). © 2022 Faith Ringgold / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, courtesy ACA Galleries, New York. Gund Gallery at Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio. Gift of David Horvitz ’74 and Francie Bishop Good, 2017.5.6.