Alma Thomas

Date of Birth:  1891
Date of Death:  1978

Alma Thomas, born September 22, 1891, retired in January 1960 at the age of 68, following 35 years of teaching art in a DC junior high school, with the intention of devoting herself to painting. She had her first solo exhibit in the art gallery of a DC theater that year. Her second solo show was a retrospective at the Howard University Gallery of Art in 1966, at the age of 75. Group and solo shows followed regularly thereafter. In 1972, when she was 80, Thomas had a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She was the first African-American woman to be give a solo show by that institution. A retrospective followed that same year at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Over the next few years, she had several solo shows at the Martha Jackson Gallery, a reknowned NYC gallery specializing in modern and contemporary art. Thomas died in 1978, at the age of 86.