Wind Dancing with Spring Flowers

Alma Woodsey Thomas, American, 1891 - 1978



Acrylic on canvas

Canvas: 50 5/16 × 48 1/16 in. (127.8 × 122.1 cm)

Frame: 51 5/16 × 49 1/8 × 2 3/8 in. (130.3 × 124.8 × 6 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through a gift from Evelyn A. and William B. Jaffe, Class of 1964H, by exchange



Place Made: United States, North America


20th century

Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


Signed and dated, lower right: A. W. Thomas / '69


Alma Thomas spent her career painting in the Washington, DC, area, and was especially drawn to themes she found in the city’s parks and gardens. She based Wind Dancing with Spring Flowers on the bright spring plantings in one of the city’s circular gardens—reputed to be that of Dupont Circle. The scene is an imaginary bird’s-eye view of a garden based on concentric rings of flowers. The goal is not naturalism, however, but rather a visual response to experience.

Thomas’s canvas is dominated by clearly handmade marks, emphasizing a very human presence in the painting. In this she countered a prevalent 1960s impulse to remove the hand of the artist from the work of art—an outgrowth of Minimalism. Thomas relished the handmade mark, and her work is characterized by the near-obsessive repeated brushstrokes that comprise the shapes she creates. As in the work of her DC colleagues, color plays a dominant role in evoking her emotional responses to her subjects.

From the 2019 exhibition The Expanding Universe of Postwar Art, curated by John R. Stomberg Ph.D, Virginia Rice Kelsey 1961s Director

Course History

AAAS 67.5, GEOG 21.01, Black Consciousness and Black Feminisms, Abigail Neely, Winter 2019

Exhibition History

Alma W. Thomas: Everything is Beautiful, Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia, July 9-October 3, 2021; The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, October 30, 2021-January 23, 2022; Frist Art Museum, Nashville, Tennesee, February 22-May 22, 2022; The Columbus Museum, Columbus, Georgia, July 1-September 25, 2022.

The Expanding Universe of Postwar Art, Northeast Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26-December 1, 2019.

The Painter's Hand: U.S. Abstraction since 1950, William B. Jaffe and Evelyn A. Jaffe-Hall Galleries, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 3-December 9, 2023.

Publication History

John R. Stomberg, The Hood Now: Art and Inquiry at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2019, p. 181, ill. plate no. 112.

Cover, Humanities: The Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Winter 2022, 43, no. 1

Seth Feman and John Frederick Walz, Alma W. Thomas: Everything is Beautiful, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2020,ill. cat. 135, p.287.


The artist; Vincent Malzac (1914-1989), date unknown; Estate of Vincent Melzac, 1989; Connersmith, Washington, D.C., date unknown; sold to present collection, 2016.

This record is part of an active database that includes information from historic documentation that may not have been recently reviewed. Information may be inaccurate or incomplete. We also acknowledge some language and imagery may be offensive, violent, or discriminatory. These records reflect the institution’s history or the views of artists or scholars, past and present. Our collections research is ongoing.

We welcome questions, feedback, and suggestions for improvement. Please contact us at: