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Guess Who (by artist's works!) > What a crowd!---Jacob Lawrence

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message 1: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8276 comments

message 2: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1892 comments Jacob Lawrence?

message 3: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8276 comments Ruth wrote: "Jacob Lawrence?"

Wow, Ruth. We haven't talked about him in I noticed exactly 10 years! But, I'm not surprised you know this. :) Good job!

message 4: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8276 comments It's part of his Immigrant Series. No 6: And the Migrants kept coming

I'll post a few more from this series. Since we haven't really talked about him, maybe some of us aren't as familiar with his work?

Congratulations, Ruth!

message 5: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8276 comments

message 6: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8276 comments This site shows 60 panels of Jacob Lawrence's Great American Epic

Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series tells the story of the Great Migration, or mass movement of over one million African Americans from the rural South to the urban North in the early decades of the 20th century, a period that forever altered the social, economic, political, and cultural fabric of American society.

The first Great Migration, stimulated by World War I’s extraordinary demand for manufacturing labor, drove African Americans in record numbers to major industrial centers of the North, particularly Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and New York City. As Lawrence shows us in the first panel of The Migration Series, Chicago, New York, and St. Louis were among the major gateways north. African American migrants also followed the Southern Pacific Railroad west, to cities in California (Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Diego) and the Pacific Northwest (Portland and Seattle).

In the final panel of The Migration Series, Lawrence leaves us with this message: “And the migrants kept coming.” Completing his series in 1941 at the start of the second Great Migration, Lawrence understood that the ongoing impact of the migration would continue to reverberate for decades to come. Indeed, just prior to his death in 2000, he witnessed the extraordinary reversal of the Great Migration with the accelerated return of African Americans to the South. Lawrence’s panels provide a moving portrait of the broader human quest for freedom, equality, and opportunity that fuels ongoing patterns of migration around the world today.

message 7: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8276 comments

message 8: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8276 comments At the start of World War I, when African American migrants chose to uproot themselves from their longtime homes in the South, they took a major leap of faith that a better life awaited them in the “promised land” of the North.

With self-determination and resilience, hundreds of thousands of migrants joined the movement and collectively voiced their opposition to the repressive conditions of the South. Life in the North, they hoped, would offer better jobs; educational opportunities; social, political, and economic mobility; and personal freedoms. Yet the harsh realities of surging numbers of migrants in northern cities introduced new challenges.

Letters sent home to loved ones and close friends provided an important glimpse into the conditions of the migrants’ new urban lives. In the face of overcrowded housing, poor working conditions, ongoing discrimination, race riots, and bombing, “the migrants kept coming.”

message 9: by Heather, Moderator (last edited Apr 13, 2019 08:06AM) (new)

Heather | 8276 comments Jacob Lawrence's Harlem

Explore Jacob Lawrence's Harlem and the enduring legacy of migration around the world through videos, photos, and artwork.

Art and Culture
Contemporary Perspectives


message 10: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8276 comments And Ruth, you've been with us almost that whole time, since the group began January 2009. I'm still so glad to have you and your comments!

message 11: by Dirk (new)

Dirk Van | 2712 comments Super quick Ruth!
I was thinking where have I seen this before and whoops, there was your post!

message 12: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8276 comments

message 13: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8276 comments I like the various colors he uses. Some of them are so stark, like the immediate one above...

message 14: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8276 comments Jacob Lawrence was an American painter, and the most widely acclaimed African-American artist of the 20th century. He is best known for his Migration Series.

Raised in Harlem, New York, Jacob Lawrence became the most renowned African-American artist of his time. Known for producing narrative collections like the Migration Series and War Series, he illustrated the African-American experience using vivid colors set against black and brown figures. He also served as a professor of art at the University of Washington for 15 years.

message 15: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8276 comments 'The Migration Series'

In 1937 Lawrence won a scholarship to the American Artists School in New York. When he graduated in 1939, he received funding from the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project. He had already developed his own style of modernism, and began creating narrative series, painting 30 or more paintings on one subject. He completed his best-known series, Migration of the Negro or simply The Migration Series, in 1941. The series was exhibited at Edith Halpert's Downtown Gallery in 1942, making Lawrence the first African-American to join the gallery.

message 16: by Heather, Moderator (last edited Apr 13, 2019 08:27AM) (new)

Heather | 8276 comments World War II and After

At the outbreak of World War II, Lawrence was drafted into the United States Coast Guard. After being briefly stationed in Florida and Massachusetts, he was assigned to be the Coast Guard artist aboard a troopship, documenting the war experience as he traveled around the world. During this time, he produced close to 50 paintings but all ended up being lost.

'War Series'

When his tour of duty ended, Lawrence received a Guggenheim Fellowship and painted his War Series. He was also invited by Josef Albers to teach the summer session at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Albers reportedly hired a private train car to transport Lawrence and his wife to the college so they wouldn’t be forced to transfer to the “colored” car when the train crossed the Mason-Dixon Line.

When he returned to New York, Lawrence continued honing his craft but began struggling with depression. In 1949 he admitted himself into Hillside Hospital in Queens, staying for close to a year. As a patient at the facility, he produced artwork that reflected his emotional state, incorporating subdued colors and melancholy figures in his paintings, which was a sharp contrast to his other works.

In 1951, Lawrence painted works based on memories of performances at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. He also began teaching again, first at Pratt Institute and later the New School for Social Research and the Art Students League.

message 17: by Geoffrey (new)

Geoffrey Aronson (geaaronson) | 930 comments I recall seeing a painting he had done at the age of 7. Wow!!!! What a child prodigy. It was at the adult level and would not have known accomplished at such a tender age.

message 18: by Connie (new)

Connie G (connie_g) | 360 comments I like his work. I remember going to an exhibit that featured some works from his jazz series, and they were wonderful.

message 19: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8276 comments Wow, I didn’t know that, Geoffrey. 7 years old, yes what a child prodigy he was!

And Connie, I haven’t seem his ‘Jazz series’ I’ll have to check that out. I like his work, too.

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