Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe


Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe


Untitled (Girl in Red Vest)

A smiling girl in a red vest stands among dogs, birds, plants, and other figures; a blue bird sits between two large trees sprouting from a patch of orange with small animals among the foliage.

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Object Details


Nellie Mae Rowe, American, 1900–1982




Crayon and pencil on paper


18 x 24 inches


Gift of Judith Alexander

Accession #


Image Copyright

© Estate of Nellie Mae Rowe/High Museum of Art, Atlanta.


The ornamented tree in this drawing corresponds visually to the one seen in this photograph by Melinda Blauvelt, showing how Rowe’s imagination fed both her drawings and her built environment, and the two practices also cross-pollinated each other. Rowe’s aesthetic of fullness reigned in both space and on paper. The abundance of color and form in drawings like this one reflect the chockablock nature of the Playhouse, which was teeming with its own characters, patterns, and vignettes.