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A Restored Painting Brings Back a Subject That Was Previously Covered Up, An Enslaved Child Named Bélizaire

The incredible story of the Met’s new acquisition

Attributed to Jacques Guillaume Lucien Amans (Franco-American, Maastricht (then under French rule) 1801–1888 Paris). Bélizaire and the Frey Children, ca. 1837. Oil on canvas. 47 1/4 × 36 1/4 in. (120 × 92.1 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Acquisitions Fund, Brooke Russell Astor Bequest, Friends of the American Wing Fund, Muriel J. Kogan Bequest, and funds from various donors, 2023. Courtesy of Ben Elwes Fine Art. Image used with permission.

Alexandra Eaton‘s in depth video and feature in the New York Times shares the journey of a now historically important work—a portrait of a family’s three children and the Black slave who took care of them. The painting’s nearly two hundred year journey includes the death of the three children shortly after it was painted, the identification of the slave and details on his life, the work’s storage for years in attics and basements before being donated to the New Orleans Museum of Art, its sales, restorations and eventual acquisition by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It will hang in the museum’s American Wing, helping to fill a large representation gap of Black people in American art of the era.

Via The New York Times link opens in a new window

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