In the painting Les Fetiches, there are five masks which occupy most of the painting. The mask in the middle has an oval shape. The other masks are oval, circular, or square shaped. Irregular lines frame the mask in the center. A black background enhances the multi-colored masks. There is an orange colored figure on the far right of the painting. Purple and black lines enhance the mask on the fat left. A white stripe is seen on the mask on the bottom of the painting. Horns are seen on the far right corner on the mask.
The background colors enhances the mask in the center, making it a focal area. It has a light value, bringing out the image of a three-dimensional effect. The images are constructed with geometric shapes. The center mask contains circular shapes to form the borders of the masks. The eyes are oval shaped and accented with different shades of gold and brown.
The second mask, on the far left, is composed of contour purple and black lines which accentuate the nose, eyes, and mouth. The third mask, which is located on the bottom, is composed of a brownish green color. The eyes contain a strip of white over the center of the mask.
The pinkish-purple mask, the fourth mask, is the hidden between the center mask and the mask on the bottom. This mask is in the form of a circular shape. The eyes and the mouth are also examples of perfect circles. The nose looks uprooted from the face. The fifth mask, which lays on the far bottom right hand corner, It is shaded by dark colors. You can see the two horns as they overlap the pinkish- purple lines.
The lines surrounding the center mask give it the effect of visually vibrating. The
horns on the top left give the image a sense of anger. All the masks seem to symbolize
different cultures joining together. From a distance, the image looks as if a man is
attempting to move the center mask. The mask on the left side portrays a demonic look. All
these masks show different characteristics.
Lois Mailou Jones was the daughter of the first African-American to graduate from Boston's Suffolk Law School. His name was Thomas Vreeland Jones. Jones was born in 1905 and recalls how her mother advocated early artistic interests. Jone's did not have a fixed career in art until she received an offer from the Bostom Museum School of Fine arts for a vocational drawing class. She also studied at Columbia University and Howard University, and got granted a teachers certificate after she graduated, in 1917.
Though Jones was talented in her work, she experienced racial prejudice. Jones applied to The Bostom Museum School of Fine Arts and was rejected. She later on moved to New York city were she drafted in 1928 by Palmer Memorial Institute, located in North Carolina.
"Jone's long career may be devided in four phases: the African-Americans works works of early 1930s, French landscapes, cityscapes, figure studies, and Haitian scenes of the 1950s and 1960s."(Perry,121) In 1930, when Jones joined the facility at Howard University, her formal artistic career began. Jone's work was mostly inspired by her experience with descrimination, and the aftermath of the Harlem Renaissance.
In 1931, Lois Mailou Jones went to Paris. In Paris, she attended the Academe Julian, where she studied painting. Paris was a good experience for Jones. There, she learned to speak French and lived among the French people. The reproductions of the French paintings were all placed in a book which was published in Paris in 1952. In recognizing her achivement, Haiti's government made Jone's a Chevalair of the National Order of Honor and Merit.
When Jone's was a graduate student at Columbia University, she met Louis Vergniaud Pierre- Novel, a Haitian artist. There they became aquainted and married in the South of France in 1953. They had no children and their twenty-nine year marriage ended with his death.
Even in her late eighties, Jone's continues to produce great new worksin an extrodinary rate of speed. Her most popular work were a great number of oils and watercolors. These works carefully, and skillfully depicts aspects of African masks,textiles, and figures
One of the first female African-American painters to depict African imagery was Lois Mailou Jones. Les Fetiches was completed while her stay in Paris. The painting depicts five African masks, a white pendant charm, and a standing red anthropomorphic figures."Rendered in the monochromatic tones and boldly sihouetted against a dark background, the faithful representation of the artifacts is a result of Jone's fist hand study of African masks.(Perry,122) Jone's significant work of her career, Les Fitches is a poetic blend of spirit and depiction of Jone's ancestry.
Perry, Regina. Free Within Ourselves: African-American Artists in the Collection of the National Museum of American Art. San Francisco: Pomengranate Art Books, 1992.