History of African-American Artists: From 1792 to the Present

Overview

A landmark work of art history: lavishly illustrated and extraordinary for its thoroughness, A History of African-American Artists — conceived, researched, and written by the great American artist Romare Bearden with journalist Harry Henderson, who completed the work after Bearden's death in 1988 — gives a conspectus of African-American art from the late eighteenth century to the present. It examines the lives and careers of more than fifty signal African-American artists, and the relation of their work to ...

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Overview

A landmark work of art history: lavishly illustrated and extraordinary for its thoroughness, A History of African-American Artists — conceived, researched, and written by the great American artist Romare Bearden with journalist Harry Henderson, who completed the work after Bearden's death in 1988 — gives a conspectus of African-American art from the late eighteenth century to the present. It examines the lives and careers of more than fifty signal African-American artists, and the relation of their work to prevailing artistic, social, and political trends both in America and throughout the world.

Beginning with a radical reevaluation of the enigma of Joshua Johnston, a late eighteenth-century portrait painter widely assumed by historians to be one of the earliest known African-American artists, Bearden and Henderson go on to examine the careers of Robert S. Duncanson, Edward M. Bannister, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Aaron Douglas, Edmonia Lewis, Jacob Lawrence, Hale A. Woodruff, Augusta Savage, Charles H. Alston, Ellis Wilson, Archibald J. Motley, Jr., Horace Pippin, Alma W. Thomas, and many others.

Illustrated with more than 420 black-and-white illustrations and 61 color reproductions — including rediscovered classics, works no longer extant, and art never before seen in this country — A History of African-American Artists is a stunning achievement.

A landmark work of art history: lavishly illustrated and extraordinary for its throughness, this history reviews 200 years of African-American art, examines the lives and careers of more than 50 signal artists, and relates their work to prevailing artists and trends throughout the world. 310 illustrations, 61 in color.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Himself one of the most prominent modern African American artists, Bearden conceived this landmark volume, treating more than 50 of his predecessors and contemporaries, before his death in 1988. Henderson has ably carried on his mission in a lavishly illustrated book containing 250 black-and-white and 61 color reproductions. Opening in the 18th century with Joshua Johnston, the authors go on to examine the work of Robert S. Duncanson, Henry O. Tanner, Aaron Douglas, Edmonia Lewis, Jacob Lawrence, Auguste Savage, Ellis Wilson, Archibald Motley, Alma Thomas, and others born before 1925. Their lives and careers, which often involved overcoming racial barriers, are portrayed against the backdrop of artistic, social, and political events; black Renaissance and Depression artists receive the most attention. This thoroughly researched conspectus is a solid choice for U.S. art and history collections.-- Russell T. Clement, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, Ut.
Donna Seaman
The late Romare Bearden, a premier African American artist in his own right, devoted 15 years to researching and writing this magnificent study of the lives and achievements of 36 significant African American artists born prior to 1925. He and longtime friend and coauthor Henderson were motivated by frustration over the lack of literature on black artists. Through great perseverance and determination, they managed to track down forgotten artwork, piece together vivid biographical portraits, and conduct interviews with surviving artists, who, in spite of their stature and longevity, had never before been interviewed. As Bearden and Henderson set the scene, historically speaking, for such artists as Robert S. Duncanson, Edmonia Lewis, and Henry Ossawa Tanner, they expose the degree to which racism limited opportunities for black artists. The life stories of the artists associated with the Black Renaissance during the 1920s--such as Aaron Douglas; Archibald Motley, the first painter to boldly celebrate urban African American society; and sculptor and influential mentor Augusta Savage--are recorded with consummate insight, as are accounts of the giants of the Depression era, Beauford Delaney and Jacob Lawrence. Richly illustrated and written with resounding empathy and pride, this is a major contribution to the literature on African American history and to the annals of American art.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394570167
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 976,299
  • Product dimensions: 9.33 (w) x 12.40 (h) x 1.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Romare Bearden's works have been exhibited throughout the world, and are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Gallery, and the Whitney Museum. Among the many honors he received was the National Medal of Arts, in 1987. Bearden died in 1988, at the age of seventy-six.

Harry Henderson has written for Collier's, Cosmopolitan, Harper's, Reader's Digest, and Redbook, among other magazines and journals. He previously collaborated with Romare Bearden on Six Black Masters of American Art. Henderson lives in Croton-on-the-Hudson, New York.

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Table of Contents

Special Acknowledgments
Introduction
The Late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries 3
The Question of Joshua Johnston 3
Robert S. Duncanson 19
Edward M. Bannister 40
Grafton T. Brown 52
Edmonia Lewis 54
Henry Ossawa Tanner 78
Other Significant Early Artists 111
The Twenties and the Black Renaissance 115
Aaron Douglas 127
Richmond Barthe 136
Archibald J. Motley, Jr. 147
Palmer C. Hayden 157
Augusta Savage 168
Malvin Gray Johnson 181
W. H. Johnson 185
Hale A. Woodruff 200
Sargent Johnson 216
Emergence of African-American Artists During the Depression 227
Three Influential People - Alain Leroy Locke, Charles Christopher Seifert, Mary Beattie Brady 243
Charles H. Alston 260
Eldzier Cortor 272
Beauford Delaney 280
Joseph Delaney 287
Jacob Lawrence 293
Norman Lewis 315
Hughie Lee-Smith 328
Ellis Wilson 337
The Naive, Self-Taught Artists 345
William Edmondson 349
Horace Pippin 356
Art Departments in African-American Colleges 371
James A. Porter 373
Lois Mailou Jones 381
James Lesesne Wells 389
Post-World War II African-American Artists 397
Charles White 405
Elizabeth Catlett 418
John T. Biggers 427
Carroll H. Simms 437
Alma W. Thomas 447
Ed Wilson 454
James W. Washington, Jr. 462
Richard Mayhew 470
Notes 479
Index 515
Illustration Credits 533
Permissions Acknowledgments 541
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