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    Artist Name:

    Bessie Harvey

    Nationality & Life Dates:

    American, 1929–1994


    Jacob Wrestling with the Angel


    ca. 1990


    Wood, paint, and plastic beads


    15 1/2 x 22 x 8 inches

    Credit Line:

    Gift of Lynne and Jim Browne

    Accession Number:


    On View - Stent Family Wing, Skyway Level, Gallery 407
    Bessie Harvey was both a pious Christian who believed God worked through her and an animist who believed her art-making manifested spirits that already inhabited the wood she found and manipulated. This root sculpture is small, simple, and powerful. With a minimalist approach the artist turned found wood into a dramatic evocation of the biblical episode referred to in the title, using the roots of one stalk for the angel’s crackling hair and the bent stem of another for Jacob’s form, arching painfully backward. She added only small bits of plastic to suggest facial features, relying on minor manipulations to realize powerful forms.

    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.