Brookline Rotary Club – Brookline Rotary Club Virtual Auction
Auction Ends: May 11, 2022 11:55 PM EDT


Framed Poster of John Wilson's MLK

Item Number
Estimated Value
$125 USD
Opening Bid
$50 USD

Item Description

Framed commemorative poster, 21 by 15 inches.

This poster was used to advertise Brookline's January 17, 2022, Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration event. This annual event, normally held at the Coolidge Corner Theater, was broadcast remotely over the Brookline Interactive Group's YouTube channel because of the COVID lockdown. Links to the 2022 event and to other events produced by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee can be found on the Committee's webpage The poster is being offered to the Brookline Rotary for its charity fundraising auction with the approval of Martha Richardson Fine Art, the representative of the art in John Wilson's estate.

The poster is special because it includes an iconic print of Martin Luther King, Jr., by Brookline artist John Wilson (1922-2015) who lived on Harris Street. Wilson was a nationally renowned African American artist who was born in Roxbury and lived in Brookline for 50 years. His work is held in major collections and museums. A bust of King that Wilson created was the first work of art in the U. S. Capitol to honor a Black American and was installed on January 16, 1986. In 2018 Wilson was honored with a Brookline Town Meeting Resolution, an event celebrating his life, and the installation and dedication of a bronze sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr. by John Wilson in the lobby of Town Hall.

The history of the print used on the poster is significant. In 1985 Wilson was chosen to create the bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. mentioned above for the U.S. Capitol Rotunda that would be unveiled on the first Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Wilson's first rendering of the poster's print image was a study for the sculpture in black and white pastel. He revisited the print image again in 2002 after the installation of the King bust, this time as a series of prints from a copper plate etching that Wilson and his printer Jim Stroud augmented and refined to create 20 successive “states” or stages of development of the image. The MFA recently (2021) held an exhibition that featured the 1985 study and the 18 “states” or trial proofs leading to the final edition of prints. One of those final edition prints, number 48 of 50, is hanging in the John Pierce School in Brookline and a professional copy of that print was used to produce this poster. The evolution of these trial proofs offers a unique glimpse into the artist's creative processes. A film of John Wilson's evolving creative process can be seen on a webpage of the Museum of Fine Arts at this link:

See Wilson's Process | Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (
We hope you enjoy the poster and learn more about John Wilson and his impact locally and globally. Many examples of John Wilson's art can be found at Martha Richardson Fine Art (by appointment only) - 38 Newbury Street Boston, MA 02116 (617-266-3321) -

Bernard Greene, Chair
Christiana Akins
Rob Daves
Ann Kamensky
Bobbie Knable
Jack Curtis
Caitlin Starr