What We Can Learn from the Brief Period When the Government Employed Artists
Signature: signed lower right: Alston
An active figure in the Harlem Renaissance, Charles Alston created vital representations of black experiences and figures during the middle of the 20th century with his paintings, sculptures, and illustrations. Alston served in the Works Progress Administration during the Depression and the Office of War Information during the Second World War, and his early work demonstrates affinities toward realism in his sympathetic portraits and large-scale public murals. In the 1940s, his work turned toward Cubism and began to exhibit sharper lines and masklike characteristics, while the Civil Rights era fueled a more critical tone in his work, imbuing religious allusions with a sense of political immediacy. Throughout his life, Alston remained active alongside fellow Harlem Renaissance artists Hale Woodruff and Romare Bearden—his relative by marriage—and served as an important influence to Jacob Lawrence.
American, 1907-1977, Charlottes, North Carolina, based in New York, New York