The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) recently acquired a portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. titled “I Had a Dream” by Edward Biberman. The American modern artist is known for his urban landscapes and figurative paintings that addressed issues of race, immigration, labor and inequality.
The oil painting, which went on display earlier this month, is a close-cropped depiction of King’s face. The civil rights movement leader’s eyebrows, eyes, nose and a bit of mustache fill the roughly 24 inches by 30 inches canvas.
Biberman grew up in Philadelphia to a mercantile family. He passed away in 1986. He was a friend and “devoted and partisan follower” of Mexican artist and muralist Diego Rivera and Mexican social realist painters José Clemente Orozco and José David Alfaro Siqueiros.
The museum said the Biberman intended this work for the public, not behind closed doors in a private collection. His great-nephew Jeremy Strick was former director of LACMA. It’s the first of King to enter into the museum’s permanent collection.