Lady of the Lake, ca. 1936-39. Horace Pippin. Oil on canvas. Bequest of Jane Kendall Gingrich, 1982.
A self-taught painter from Pennsylvania, Pippin started making art at thirty-seven, and later became one of the most recognized African American artists in the country. Based loosely on Arthurian legend, Lady of the Lake is his lone painting of a female nude. She takes the form of a sunbather at the edge of the water, sitting with her face held up to the light and next to a log cabin that appears too small to accommodate her. The cabin, canoe, Indian-style blanket, rose trellis, bricolage planters, and lush, mountainous landscape suggest that Pippin mined resources close to home to build the composition.