Monday, November 07, 2005

Jacob Lawrence

Jacob Lawrence
American, 1917 - 2000

The paintings of Jacob Lawrence express his lifelong concern for human dignity, freedom, and his own social consciousness. His images portray the everyday reality, the struggles and successes of African American life. Using art as an instrument of protest, Lawrence aligned himself with the American school of social realism and Mexican muralist tradition.

Lawrence's subject matter and painting style remained relatively consistent through his career. His subjects range from street scenes to the lives of important African Americans to powerful narrative series--chronicles of the afflictions endured by African Americans. He portrays these diverse subjects in a quasi-representational style that combines vivid, often discordant tempera colors with a flattened, fragmented treatment of form and space. The artist's intent is to convey his feelings about the subjects portrayed. As Lawrence said, "My pictures express my life and experience. I paint the things I know about and the things I have experienced."

[This is an excerpt from the interactive companion to the videodisc American Art from the National Gallery of Art.]

To see more work and learn more about this exceptional artist, explore the links here.