Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Prisoner
  • Description

    Black man in handcuffs in cell, looking skyward. 1934 Lithograph

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1934
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 340 millimetres
    • Width: 253 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Signed with initials on stone. Signed, titled, numbered 24/50 and annotated with dedication to Mrs Franklin D Roosevelt.
  • Curator's comments

    Text from Stephen Coppel, 'The American Scene: Prints from Hopper to Pollock', with the assistance of Jerzy Kierkuc-Bielinski, BMP, 2008, no. 75.

    The lithograph is based upon Bloch's painting, The Prisoner, 1933 (Public Works of Art Project, on deposit with the Philadelphia Museum of Art). The model was Alonzo Jennings, who had sat for an earlier portrait. In his journal Bloch described the placing of handcuffs on Jennings: 'I had a horror of putting them on him, but he only laughed, and said, "I'll trust you to take them off again"' (Bloch, Journals, no. 3, 25 November 1933; cited by Likos, p. 13). Bloch heightens the emotional tension of the subject by focusing upon the black youth's expression of suffering and upon his large manacled hands. The black prisoner looks upwards, like a martyr in a religious image, towards deliverance from his plight.

    Bloch dedicated this impression to the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, who was a strong supporter of civil rights.


  • Location

    Not on display (American XXc Mounted Roy)

  • Exhibition history

    2008 April-Sep, BM, The American Scene, cat. no.75
    2009 Feb-April, Nottingham, Djanogly AG, The American Scene
    2009 May-Aug, Brighton Museum & AG, The American Scene
    2009 Sep-Dec, Manchester, Whitworth AG, The American Scene

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


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Object reference number: PPA36445

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