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    Artist Name:

    Ulysses Davis

    Nationality & Life Dates:

    American, 1914–1990


    Jesus on the Cross




    Cedar, mahogany, toothpicks, and paint


    40 1/2 x 14 x 6 inches

    Credit Line:

    Purchase with general funds and funds from friends of the Museum

    Accession Number:


    On View - Stent Family Wing, Skyway Level, Gallery 407
    One of the most significant self-taught artists in the history of the American South, Ulysses Davis made his living as a barber, one of the few professions open to African Americans in the 1950s. For this sculpture, the largest Davis made, he insisted on a piece of cedar fine enough to embody Jesus. He abstracted the anatomical forms to avoid any mimicry that presumed to depict God. With wood chisel and knives, Davis carved as if performing a penance, enumerating and empathizing with Christ’s sufferings as he worked. He spent almost ten hours carving the crown alone, drilling holes into which he inserted thorns made from toothpick ends.

    Reproduction of digital images, including downloading, is governed by copyright laws and international conventions. Please contact the Images and Rights Coordinator for information concerning permissions or to request digital photography of works in the High's collection.

    Please Note: Not all permanent collection works are currently on view. Please contact the Museum concerning the on view status for a specific work if required.

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