Jacob Lawrence Artist Essay

Jacob Lawrence Artist Essay

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Race in America comes with a lot of struggle. It has been over fifty years since segregation ended, and race is still the cause of debate over police brutality, discrimination, and hate crimes. In the public eye, race relations are a more muted topic. Most people, white and black say that the time of racial cynicism is over. Race relations now are less defined by politics and more by experiences in schools, sports, popular culture and religion. In the arts, race is becoming more defined as the celebration of culture.
One well known and celebrated African American artist is Jacob Lawrence. Lawrence was born in 1917 and grew up in a segregated America. He was best known for his portrayal of African American life in his paintings. Lawrence’s style was remising of Pablo Picasso’s cubism, but with more color and darker features. He referred to his style of art as “Dynamic Cubism”, a style that is carried on by several other African American artists today. Lawrence was just thirteen when he was first introduced to art when his family moved to New York. One of his art teachers say that Lawrence had great potential and urged him to study hard and get into a good school.
At the age of sixteen he dropped out of high school and took a job at a printing plant and continued to take art classes lead by Charles Alston, another African American artist at the time. Alston lead Lawrence to the American Arts School where he met Augusta Savage who helped him get a scholar ship to the school as well as a work study position. He worked and studied hard for many years. During this time he had created many notable paintings, one of which he is best known for “The Migration Series.”
“The Migration Series” is a 60 panel set of narrative paintings ...


... middle of paper ...


... Lawrence’s “The Migration Series” gives the viewer a first-hand look at what it was like to be black during the great migration. He captures the very essence of black America. This series painting have a wide variety of content ranging from black people setting under a tree, to hundreds of African Americans loading a train to New York. Lawrence finds what really shows his culture for what it really is, rich. Black culture is a big part of America and the “Migration Series” takes into account the daily lives of African Americans before and after segregation.


Works Cited
Gates, H. Family Matters. 2009. Best American Essays. Class Readings 2014
Kruger, B. Mariani, P. Black Culture and Postmodernism. Remaking History. Class Readings
2014.
Phillips Collection. The Migration Series. Jacob Lawrence. Retrieved from the Web. April 1,
2014

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