African Art
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The Queen of Sheba with King Solomon and Tribute Bearers

ca. 1930–40

Oil on canvas

31 5/16 × 56 15/16in. (79.5 × 144.6 cm)
Gift of Nina M. Griggs in memory of N. Lee Griggs, Jr., B.A. 1951
The Italian colonial conquest of Ethiopia (1936–41) elicited a heightened demand from tourists and expatriates for Ethiopian paintings, resulting in the establishment of collaborative workshops with artists producing paintings in an assembly-line mode. The legend of the Queen of Sheba is one of the most popular themes in paintings by these workshops. According to Ethiopian written and oral histories, the Queen of Sheba became pregnant after visiting King Solomon and gave birth to a son, Menelik I, who became king of Ethiopia. During the reign of Emperor Menelik II (1889–1913), a rise in the number of foreign visitors and national modernization processes led to an emerging art market for Ethiopian artists that extended beyond the church. Ethiopian paintings were part of ceremonial gift exchanges and sold to tourists.
On view
20th century

Purchased by Nina Griggs at estate sale in Greenwich from woman whose husband had worked in Africa; Donated by Nina Grigg to Yale University Art Gallery in 2005


“Acquisitions 2004,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2005): 139.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.