I’m thrilled to announce a new commissioned artwork by internationally celebrated—and New Jersey-born and raised—artist, Mickalene Thomas. Thomas’s monumental Isn’t She Lovely? Tracey Norman will debut in our Seeing America – Expanding Pop gallery later this month. A commissioned portrait more than two years in the making, this vibrant, full-length, mixed-media painting depicts supermodel and Newark native Tracey “Africa” Norman.

Mickalene Thomas, Isn't She Lovely, Tracey Norman, 2022. Rhinestones, acrylic and oil paint on canvas mounted on wood panel. Purchase 2022 Collections Exchange Fund, Mr. and Mrs. William V. Griffin Fund, and Helen McMahon Brady Cutting Fund 2022.6 © Mickalene Thomas

Portraiture plays an important role in art history and  full-length examples have a particularly iconic status. The artist’s practice often references modern masterworks. Isn’t She Lovely, Tracey Norman is a bold, assertive statement of 21st century feminine power, just as John Singer Sargent’s Mrs. Charles Thursby celebrates the liberated “new woman” of the late-19th century.

John Singer Sargent, Mrs. Charles Thursby, ca. 1897‑1898. Oil on canvas, 78 1/4 x 39 1/2 in. Purchase by exchange, 1985 Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. Duncan Pitney, Emilie Coles (from the J. Ackerman Coles Collection), Mrs. Lewis B. Ballantyne, Mrs. Owen Winston and the Bequest of Louis Bamberger 85.45 

It’s an honor and a pleasure to count Thomas and Norman among our Museum friends and as dynamic collaborators with the NMOA—we honored Mickalene with the Artistic Impact Award at our 2022 Art Ball, a program I started three years ago. Previous recipients were art stars Bisa Butler and Faith Ringgold. And Tracey is consulting with us on our upcoming exhibition celebrating the history of Newark fashion, launching in 2024.

In the meantime, take a moment and join us at the Museum to see other empowering works on view.

Warm regards,

Linda C. Harrison
Director and CEO
The Newark Museum of Art