Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe


Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe


Untitled (Nellie and Henry)

A man and woman surround a large cerulean, magenta, and green accented home; the woman motions to a large green chair with navy cross-hatching.

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Object Details


Nellie Mae Rowe, American, 1900–1982




Crayon, colored pencil, and pencil on paper


19 x 23 1/2 inches


Gift of Judith Alexander

Accession #


Image Copyright

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


Rowe offers her late husband Henry Rowe a seat as he looks up into a clear blue sky, about to make his transition to heaven. Her inclusion of the Playhouse both honors their lives in the home they built together and also foretells how she would transform it into the stage for her artistic renaissance. Although Rowe mourned her husband, she was also relieved to be free from domestic duties. As she told one interviewer quite bluntly, “My husband died in’48 and I ain’t been bothered with marrying or cooking since then—whew, child, I couldn’t stand it.”