Jacob Lawrence Essay

1750 Words 7 Pages
One the most distinguished artists of the twentieth century, Jacob Lawrence was born in Atlantic City and spnt part of his child hood in Pennsylvania. After his parents split up in 1924, he went with his mother and siblings to New York, settling in Harlem. "He trained as a painter at the Harlem Art Workshop, inside the New York Public Library's 113 5th Street branch. Younger than the artists and writers who took part in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, Lawrence was also at an angle to them: he was not interested in the kind of idealized, fake-primitive images of blacks - the Noble Negroes in Art Deco guise - that tended to be produced as an antidote to the toxic racist stereotypes with which white popular culture had flooded …show more content…
This is the only northeastern venue for this nationally touring exhibition. Above left: Jacob Lawrence in his studio, 1994. Photo by Spike Mafford, courtesy of the artist and Francine Seders Gallery

Born in 1917 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Lawrence moved to New York City with his family in 1930, not long after the heyday of the Harlem Renaissance. There he studied with painter Charles Alston, whose studio was a gathering place for many of the great African American artists and intellectuals of that era. Inspired by the discussions he encountered at Alston's studio, Lawrence developed the keen interest in African American history and culture that has informed much of his artistic work. Right: Aesop's Fable, "The Two Frogs," 1969, courtesy of the artist and Francine Seders Gallery

Lawrence is best known for his epic series that grew out of this influential time. Comprising as many as sixty paintings each, these series depict such subjects as the successful Haitian slave revolt led by Toussaint L'Ouverture, Harriet Tubman's work in the Underground Railroad, the life of Abolitionist writer and orator Frederick Douglass, and the Great Migration of African Americans from southern farms to northern cities.

Completed in 1941, the Migration series catapulted the twenty-four-year-old artist to national prominence. The series was

More about Jacob Lawrence Essay

Open Document