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Jacob Lawrence

The Builders, 1947

Tempera on board
20 × 24 in
50.8 × 61 cm
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About the work
Exhibition history
Provenance
White House Historical Association
Washington DC
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This painting of a group of men constructing a building was done by Jacob Lawrence. A stark …

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This painting of a group of men constructing a building was done by Jacob Lawrence. A stark contrast to the 19th century styles within the White House Collection, this painting leans on browns, reds and blues to convey the impression of busy workmen on an active construction site. Lawrence is one of the best-known …

Read more
Image rights
White House Collection/White House Historical Association
Jacob Lawrence
American, 1917–2000
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Based on diligent research and inspired by Harlem Renaissance artists Augusta Savage and Charles Alston, Jacob Lawrence illustrated African American history through colorful narrative paintings. His subjects included series on prominent figures in the struggle for black liberation, such as Harriet Tubman; his “The Great Migration” (1940-41) chronicled the Depression-era flight of African Americans from the impoverished rural south to northern cities. Comprising 60 tempera works executed simultaneously with unifying color schemes and visual motifs, it depicted heart-wrenching everyday scenes. New York Times critic Holland Cotter once described Lawrence’s oeuvre as having a “sinewy moral texture...that is in the business of neither easy uplift nor single-minded protest.” Lawrence adopted his characteristic simple forms and abstract elements from African art, linking that aesthetic tradition to present-day black identity.

Save
Save
view
View in room
share
Share
Save
Save
view
View in room
share
Share
About the work
Exhibition history
Provenance
White House Historical Association
Washington DC
Follow

This painting of a group of men constructing a building was done by Jacob Lawrence. A stark …

Read more

This painting of a group of men constructing a building was done by Jacob Lawrence. A stark contrast to the 19th century styles within the White House Collection, this painting leans on browns, reds and blues to convey the impression of busy workmen on an active construction site. Lawrence is one of the best-known …

Read more
Image rights
White House Collection/White House Historical Association
Jacob Lawrence
American, 1917–2000
Follow

Based on diligent research and inspired by Harlem Renaissance artists Augusta Savage and Charles Alston, Jacob Lawrence illustrated African American history through colorful narrative paintings. His subjects included series on prominent figures in the struggle for black liberation, such as Harriet Tubman; his “The Great Migration” (1940-41) chronicled the Depression-era flight of African Americans from the impoverished rural south to northern cities. Comprising 60 tempera works executed simultaneously with unifying color schemes and visual motifs, it depicted heart-wrenching everyday scenes. New York Times critic Holland Cotter once described Lawrence’s oeuvre as having a “sinewy moral texture...that is in the business of neither easy uplift nor single-minded protest.” Lawrence adopted his characteristic simple forms and abstract elements from African art, linking that aesthetic tradition to present-day black identity.

Jacob Lawrence

The Builders, 1947

Tempera on board
20 × 24 in
50.8 × 61 cm
Want to sell a work by this artist? Consign with Artsy.
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