I went to Paris for 2 reasons:
1. To visit my amazing Uncle Joachim K. Doll .
2. To see Benoit’s “The Negress” at The LouvreI think I saw it first at age 10. I remember reading all of this controversy about her being objectified and sexualized, but what stuck out for me is that this is the first painting in Western culture of a Black woman as the subject. Not serving anyone or laboring on some Duchess’s hair. The beautiful ebony Black woman as the subject and it was painted by a woman. That’s good enough for me. It’s tucked away in a beautiful corner of the Louvre. The Mona Lisa is tiny and drab by comparison. The Negress has colors so rich and opulent from the multi-layered sea-green blue chair to the brillant blue-toned red band of her umpire waste to the golds, reds, oranges, burnt sienna, rich pumpkin highlights that make her skin glow like some luminous, cinnamon-covered perfection. It is simple, thoughtful and breathtaking. And The Negress is the subject. Ache’