Andy Bryan e-mailed to request artblogging on Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000), an American Harlem Renaissance painter. This movement, known at the time as the New Negro Movement, was a flourishing of intellectual and artistic efforts among Black Americans, centered in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. Lawrence was born in Atlantic City to parents who had migrated from the South. He moved to New York City at the age of 13 and received his artistic education through after-school programs and in the atelier of Charles Alston. Lawrence had his first solo exhibition in 1938. He rose to fame after 1941 with the exhibition of The Migration of the Negro -- a project describing the experiences of Black Americans who migrated from the South to the North. His later work included art instruction, as well as a lively exploration of silksreen printing.
Discrimination (1941, tempera on hardboard, Phillips Collection), part of The Migration of the Negro project. Blacks who migrated to the North often found Northerners to be no more friendly than Southerners.
Pool Parlor (1941, watercolor and gouache on paper, at the Met). Lawrence referred to his style as "dynamic Cubism" -- a flattened, angularity strongly displayed in this work.
The Life of Toussaint L'Ouverture: Contemplation (1993, silkscreen, at the Phillips). Haitian Revolutionary leader L'Ouverture was a major theme of Lawrence's work, who described him as "statesman and military genius, esteemed by the Spaniards, feared by the English, dreaded by the French, hated by the planters, and revered by the blacks."