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When I Was a Little Girl

Folk and Self-Taught Art
Artwork by Nellie Mae Rowe with figures in a colorful setting.

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When I Was a Little Girl

Artwork Details


Nellie Mae Rowe
American, 1900–1982




Crayon, marker, colored pencil, and pencil on paper

Accession #



19 x 24 inches


On View - Wieland Pavilion, Lower Level, Gallery 100


Rowe captures the thwarted artistic efforts of her childhood through a series of vignettes in this work: one version of herself as a child floats across the composition, attaching drawings to the walls of her bedroom. Because her homemade adhesive attracted rats, Rowe was punished, and her mother can be seen holding a reed in one hand and a sweet fruit for her daughter in the other at the picture’s center. One of the dolls that Rowe made from dirty laundry appears at right, waiting to be played with and ultimately undone on wash day.


Purchase with Folk Art Acquisition Fund

Image Copyright

(c) Estate of Nellie Mae Rowe/High Museum of Art, Atlanta