Agnes Pelton

Ahmi in Egypt

Not on view



Oil on canvas

Overall: 36 3/16 × 24 3/16in. (91.9 × 61.4 cm)

Accession number

Star Icons

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Modern Painting and Sculpture Committee

Rights and reproductions
© artist or artist’s estate


Visual Description

Agnes Pelton’sAhmi in Egypt(1931) is an oil painting on canvas. It measures 36 and 3/16th inches in height and 24 3/16th inches in width. It measures 91.9 centimeters in height and 61.4 centimeters in width.

This painting is of an imaginary, mystical landscape. At the bottom center of this vertical painting is a small white swan—its head sits atop its arching neck and faces our left. The swan has a gold band around its neck and a gold mark on top of its head. Behind the swan to our left are three strange vertical plants. All three stand close together and are architectural in nature. The first one on the far left is pale violet and curls at the top with a yellow bud at its tip. The tallest plant is in the center and rises from a violet stalk to a head that resembles a royal golden scepter with a diamond shape bursting forth at its tip. Next is a golden stemmed plant with two round yellow fruits that hang from its head. Behind the plants but lower - is a red ripple that snakes across the dark surface of the water from the left to the right side of the painting. The water flows in front of a large dark mountain that curves up the right of the canvas. On the mountain is the triangle shape of a dark blue tree: its tip rises over the mountain into the evening sky.

To the lower left of the painting behind the three plants, there are odd decorative shapes that float into the sky. One is mint green with blue and yellow patterns. Behind that is a lilac shape—curved at its bottom and arched at its top—with patterns of blue, green, and orange. These shapes tumble up into a midnight blue sky. If we move our eyes to the top right of the painting, we can make out the light blue tip of another tree somewhere in the distance behind the dark mountain. But the real drama in this area is a small twinkling star that hovers in the center of two concentric circles of differing shades of blue—the center circle is larger and lighter blue in color. This glowing orb floats in a dark blue night sky.