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Big Red

Published onSep 15, 2022
Big Red

Big Red, 1975

Jan Shotwell (American, 1923–2006)

Acrylic and charcoal on canvas

Gift of the Jan Shotwell Estate. In the Permanent Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.



The female figure in this painting is obscured by the large loon in the foreground, and often goes unnoticed by viewers upon first glance. Does the monochromatic red tones of the figure and the scene create a camouflage for the female form? What layers of interpretation does the eye of the beholder, or the painter, add to this image? Why do you think red was chosen as such a prominent color in this painting?  

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