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Smooth-Going Cats and the Hard-Headed Goat

Folk and Self-Taught Art
Smooth-Going Cats and the Hard-Headed Goat

Artwork Details


Thornton Dial, Sr.
American, 1928–2016




Oil on canvas

Accession #



65 7/8 x 78 inches


Currently Not on View


The dominant red, white, and blue paint on this canvas signifies the African American struggle for justice and equality on a national scale. Two writhing cats encircle a goat, a symbol of stubborn people who stand in the way of progress. “Plenty of peoples is hard-headed, like the goat,” Thornton Dial said. “That goes for all peoples being hard-headed and not paying attention to things.” Dial created this painting during a brief period when he was experimenting with oil paint without incorporating found objects.


T. Marshall Hahn Collection

Image Copyright

© 2017 Estate of Thornton Dial / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York