And the Lord Delivered Jonah

Ruth Starr ROSE

Ruth Starr Rose (1887-1965): lithograph, 1936, 155 x 220 mm. Fine impression on tan wove paper with good margins, signed and dated in pencil. The image, set on a sunset-lighted ocean, shows Jonah kneeling in the open maw of the whale near shore. Black people welcome him from the right, black angels from the left. Rose, though white and born in Wisconsin to an affluent family, who bought and owned a former tobacco plantation in Maryland, devoted her artistic life to the sympathetic and dignified portrayal of African-American life around Chesapeake Bay. Coming from a family of abolitionists and integrationist, she was well accepted in the black community, attended a black Methodist church and was probably the first white artist to have been commissioned to paint a mural in the church of a black congregation. She had a deep love of spirituals and visual representations of them (such as this one) were among her best works.