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Jacob Lawrence

Jacob Lawrence

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Jacob Lawrence

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  1. Jacob Lawrence Nick Rickman

  2. Basic Information One of the earliest artists of the Harlem Renaissance Lived in New Jersey, Easton and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Harlem, North Carolina, and Washington Along with Painting, he also taught Created his own style of Modernism

  3. His Life • Born September 17, 1917 in Atlantic City • Moved to Easton, PA until his parents split up in 1924 • His Mother moved to Harlem and he follow in 1930 • He attended day care at the Utopia Children's House • He drew patterns as a kid to pass the time • He dropped out of school at the age of 16 • He spent his time at the Harlem Art Workshop in NYPL's 135th Street branch • Often visited museums such as the Modern of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he found himself immersed in the abstractionist and modernist movements

  4. His Life • Won a scholarship to the American Artist School in New York in 1937, he graduated in 1939 • Began to spend time at the studio that his childhood mentor, Charles Alston, owned at 306 West 141st Street • Here he met Harlem Renaissance icons such as Langston Hughes, Romare Bearden, and possibly Duke Ellington • Released the Migration Series in 1942 • He married Gwendolyn Knight, the woman who wrote the captions for the Migration series • Shortly into his painting career, he was drafted into the Coast Guard • Served on the first integrated unit: the USCGC Sea Cloud • Painted 48 pieces depicting the war (all lost) • Returned in 1946, received the Guggenheim Fellowship, and painted his War Series • Goes to teach at the Black Mountain College in North Carolina

  5. His Life • Returned to Harlem in 1949 • In 1949, he checked himself into the Hillside Hospital in Queens for depression • Painted while at Hillside • His paintings reflected his sullen, reserved state while dealing with depression • Taught at the Pratt Institute, the New School for Social Research, and the Art Students League, until • He accepted a teaching job at the University of Washington in Seattle • Taught at UWS until he retired in 1986 • He continued painting until his death in June 9, 2000 at the age of 82

  6. His Art • His first artistic came through his mother's sense of fashion, the way she kept the house stylish and colorful. • "Our homes were very decorative, full of pattern, like inexpensive throw rugs, all around the house. It must have had some influence, all this color and everything. . . I used to do bright patterns after these throw rugs; I got ideas from them, the arabesques, the movement and so on." - Jacob Lawrence • His art began to develop as he began to understand art in a new sense • He visited MoMA and MMA often and he got a firsthand look at the evolution of modernism and abstractionism • He studied art under his longtime mentor, Charles Alston

  7. His Art • He began to paint his surroundings: Scenes of Harlem • The negative scenes: scenes of poverty, and crime • And the positive scenes: scenes a vibrant culture and a thriving community • After passing through the American Artist's School, he had fully developed his own style of modernism • He used bold colors, a lot of primaries, particularly yellow • For the most part he used clear outlines • He rarely depicted facial features, but rather black blobs • In nearly all of pieces, people are in mid-action • His pieces don't display 3-d space very well, but rather everything looks fairly two-dimensional

  8. His Art • He published his first major series, the Migration of the Negro, later named just the Migration Series, in 1941 • The series chronicles the migration of hundreds of thousands of african-americans from the agricultural South to the industrial North in search of better life • He starts with Southern Life, covers the process of moving north, and then ends with several panels picturing the hard assimilation to Northern culture • The series was sixty panels and took him about 2 years • From the Migration Series and on, Lawrence painted the majority of his works in series's

  9. His Art • In 1943 he released a thirty piece series once again depicting life in Harlem for african-americans • focused on working women and music, specifically jazz • During his 3 year stint in the Coast Guard, he painted 48 paintings depicting the war, unfortunately they are somehow ALL lost, however • When he returned he received the Guggenheim Fellowship and used it to paint his War Series

  10. His Art • After he checked himself into Hillside Hospital for depression, he painted several pieces while still a patient at the hospital • The pieces changed, the people in them became still, and removed • He claims that this experience gave him new perspective into art

  11. His Art • After Hillside, his art took on a deeper meaning for Lawrence • He began to use things on canvas, like light and shadow, to represent greater ideas • During the second half of his life, Lawrence became fascinated with builders, and they became the focus point of his paintings • "I like the symbolism . . . I think of it as man's aspiration, as a constructive tool – man building." - Jacob Lawrence

  12. His Art • In his latter years, he produced paintings depicting Black History, such as Toussaint L'Ouverture and John Brown • Lawrence continued painting until his death, continuing with his style, and continuing to depict scenes of builders and of blacks