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Statue of Liberty and Lazarus' Poem

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    California (made)

  • Date:

    1986 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Knowlton, Ken, born 1931 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Digital print on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the American Friends of the V&A through the generosity of Patric Prince

  • Museum number:

    E.948-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case PAT, shelf 6

This digital print features the text of the poem 'The New Colossus' by Emma Lazarus, that can be found inscribed on a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty. The letters are printed in one of four specially designed fonts. The artist has carefully selected the width of each letter so that some areas are denser than others and out of the text emerges an image of the head and crown of the Statue of Liberty.

Ken Knowlton (born 1931, USA) worked for Bell Telephone Laboratories (Bell Labs) from 1962 until 1982, where he researched and developed computer graphics. Whilst there, Knowlton met, and collaborated with, many of the other early digital pioneers, such as A. Michael Noll, Edward E. Zajac, Lillian Schwartz and Aaron Marcus. Knowlton was responsible for developing many of the early computer programming languages, as well as one of the earliest bitmap graphics systems for creating moving images, or animation, using the computer. He rarely uses off-the-shelf computer software, preferring to write his own, or customise existing software.

Physical description

Black and white digital print on paper, depicting an image of the head of the Statue of Liberty formed of the words of the poem 'The New Colossus' by Emma Lazarus and further explanatory words by the artist. Words are as follows:
"The New Colossus (By E. Lazarus) Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, / with conquering limbs astride from land to land; / Here at our sea-washed sunset gates shall stand / A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame / Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name / Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand / Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command / The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame./ "Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she / With silent lips."Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, / I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" [This poem was written in 1883 by American poet Emma Lazarus, and in 1903 it was inscribed on a bronze plaque in the pedestal of the statue of Liberty, a gift of the French to the United States, designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi using an iron frame by Gustave Eiffel, dedicated in 1886 by US President Grover Cleveland on Liberty (then Bedloe's) Island, New York Harbor. An extensive restoration of this statue has been coordinated with its 1986 centennial celebration] © 1986 Ken Knowlton Sunnyvale CA"
Signed on the back of print.

Place of Origin

California (made)

Date

1986 (made)

Artist/maker

Knowlton, Ken, born 1931 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Digital print on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'The New Colossus (By E. Lazarus) Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, / with conquering limbs astride from land to land; / Here at our sea-washed sunset gates shall stand / A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame / Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name / Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand / Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command / The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame./ "Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she / With silent lips."Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, / I lift my lamp beside the golden door!'
Text forming the picture.

'Ken Knowlton'
Signed by artist.

Dimensions

Height: 50.5 cm, Width: 40.5 cm

Object history note

Ken Knowlton made this picture in 1986, which was also the year of the celebrations of the centennial celebration of the Statue of Liberty.

Historical context note

This poem was written in 1883 by American poet Emma Lazarus, and in 1903 it was inscribed on a bronze plaque in the pedestal of the statue of Liberty, a gift of the French to the United States, designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi using an iron frame by Gustave Eiffel, dedicated in 1886 by US President Grover Cleveland on Liberty (then Bedloe's) Island, New York Harbor.

Descriptive line

Black and white digital print on paper, 'Statue of Liberty and Lazarus' Poem', by Ken Knowlton, Sunnyvale, California, 1986

Materials

Paper; Ink

Techniques

Computerized composition

Subjects depicted

Statue of Liberty

Categories

Prints; Computer Art; Portraits

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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