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Betye Saar Black Doll Blues catalogue cover

Essays by Rachel Federman, Katherine Jentleson
Interview by Maddy Inez Leeser
Foreword by Julie Roberts

An investigation into Betye Saar's lifelong interest in Black dolls, with new watercolors, historic assemblages, sketchbooks and a selection of Black dolls from the artist's collection.

This volume features new watercolor works on paper and assemblages by Betye Saar (born 1926) that incorporate the artist's personal collection of Black dolls. These watercolors showcase the artist’s experimentation with vivid color and layered techniques, and her new interest in flat shapes. While Saar has previously used painting in her mixed media collages, this is the first publication to focus on her watercolor works on paper.

Referencing the underrepresented history of Black dolls through Saar’s artistic lens, this catalog distills several intersecting themes, imagery and objects in Saar’s oeuvre, highlighting her prominent usage and reinvention of Black imagery. It contains 90 color images, including early assemblage works that feature Black dolls, such as Gris-Gris Box (1972) and Mti (1973), plus early sketchbooks and a curated selection of Saar’s Black doll collection. It also includes original essays by Rachel Federman, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Drawings at the Morgan Library & Museum, New York and Katherine Jentleson, Merrie and Dan Boone Curator of Folk and Self-Taught Art at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta and an interview with the artist by her granddaughter, Maddy Inez Leeser.

The catalogue is packaged with a pop-out cardboard doll modeled after Saar’s Hoo Doo Woman (1974), a Black doll significant for being the only doll in her collection hand-made by the artist. The doll is printed in full color, double-sided, and comes with a functional cardboard stand.

Betye Saar: Black Doll Blues was published on the occasion of Saar's exhibition at Roberts Projects, Culver City, California (September 18 – November 6, 2021).

Betye Saar: Black Doll Blues
Published by Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California, 2022
Format: Hardcover, 9 x 12 inches / 223 pages /
178 color / 9 B&W
Distributed throughout the world by Artbook | D.A.P.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2022905768
ISBN: 978-1-7336647-6-9