Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe


Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe


Untitled (Woman in Hat with Trees)

Drawing of a yellow-colored, black-haired woman in a light blue blouse from the chest up with her head facing right; grassy textured blue, green, and pink coloring behind her.

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Object Details


Nellie Mae Rowe, American, 1900–1982




Crayon, colored pencil, and pen on paper


12 x 9 inches


Gift of Judith Alexander

Accession #


Image Copyright

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


A connection to nature dominated Rowe’s childhood as her tasks on the farm were dictated by seasons and weather. She reclaimed that connection by tending to the garden of her Playhouse, which was filled with birds, flowering plants, and the pollinators they attracted. The space she made for nature to grow densely was a form of self-care that became even more meaningful against the backdrop of the rapidly gentrifying suburb she lived in, and she chronicled the beauty she cultivated in her garden in drawings like these.