Black Snake Blues

Alison Saar, American, born 1956. Published by Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia.


Color offset lithograph

Image and sheet: 21 13/16 x 29 13/16 inches (55.4 x 75.7 cm)

© Alison Saar

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of the Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia, in memory of Anne d'Harnoncourt, 2009

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The languid woman portrayed here longing for her lover (personified by the snake) was inspired by Blind Lemon Jefferson’s 1920s blues song “Black Snake Moan.” The role of the snake remains somewhat ambiguous, calling to mind its opposing symbolic functions as a protector and a potential deceiver lying in wait. Or perhaps the woman is the one in control—her vacant eyes suggest those of a conjurer.