A Close Look: “George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware: Page from an American History Textbook”

Thursday, October 6, 2022

12:00 pm PT / 3:00 pm ET

Register to watch live on Zoom

Join educators from the New Museum and the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art as we investigate one of Robert Colescott’s most well-known paintings, George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware: Page from An American History Textbook (1975). On loan from the Lucas Museum and currently featured in “Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott,” this work exemplifies Colescott’s mode of inserting Black figures into narratives that have historically excluded or falsely represented Black identities and bodies.

During this live Zoom discussion, led by museum educators Jasmin Tabatabaee of the New Museum and Mariam Tabatabaee of the Lucas Museum, we will consider the artist’s work and its broader context through close looking, questions, and group conversation. Participants will also discuss how the work uses stereotypes and sexually explicit imagery to achieve sardonic and humorous ends. This conversation is open to all art lovers–no prior knowledge is necessary. Bring yourself and your curiosity!


The Lucas Museum acquired Robert Colescott's monumental 1975 painting George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware: Page from an American History Textbook last year at auction. Writing about the painting in 1984 for Artforum, program participant Lowery Stokes Sims called it “a veritable masterpiece of unparalleled formal rigor and graphic grandeur,” which “radically rewrites the American national self-mythology, parodying the grandeur of historical genre painting while exposing the structural racial divides of the United States.” Read more about the acquisition.

The painting is currently on view in the New Museum's exhibition Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott until October 9, 2022.