Smithsonian Collections

Esperanza Spalding

Image for Esperanza Spalding
Smithsonian Museum
National Portrait Gallery
Born Portland, Oregon
Jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding electrified the Grammy Awards in 2011 by winning honors as Best New Artist. She was inspired as a child by Yo-Yo Ma and played several different stringed instruments before settling on the bass when she was in high school. She released her first album, Junjo, in 2006. Her fourth release, Radio Music Society, received high critical marks at its release in March 2012. Spalding’s musical roots reflect her cultural diversity—her father is African American; her mother Welsh, Native American, and Hispanic—and she sings in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Sandrine Lee’s photograph shows the musician in an old railroad station in Connecticut. Spalding has emphasized in interviews that music does not only happen in recording studios and concert halls, but also in more intimate, everyday spaces, as captured here.
Sandrine Lee, born 1972
Esperanza Spalding, born 1984
2010 (printed 2012)
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Sandrine Lee
Digitally exposed chromogenic print
Image: 40.5 x 61 cm (15 15/16 x 24")
Sheet: 50.7 x 71.2 cm (19 15/16 x 28 1/16")
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Seating\Chair
Music\Musical instrument\Violin
Equipment\Drafting & Writing Implements\Writing implement\Pencil
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Seating\Bench
Music\Sheet music
Music\Musical instrument\Cello
Interior\Train station
Esperanza Spalding: Female
Esperanza Spalding: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician
Esperanza Spalding: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Composer
Esperanza Spalding: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Jazz
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
United States\Connecticut
Object number
Esperanza Spalding: Native American
Esperanza Spalding: American\African American
Esperanza Spalding: American\Hispanic American