Painter. Lawrence, a social realist, portrayed the African American experience in various series devoted to Toussaint L'Ouverture, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Harlem life, and the 1960s civil rights movement. He was one of the first African American painters to achieve national acclaim.
Lawrence's work has been described as reflecting "the cultural heritage of blacks in this country." His paintings have also been credited with raising public awareness about many aspects of black culture and history that previously had not received much attention.
In addition to being awarded two Guggenheim Fellowships, one in 1937 and another in 1955, he has three National Medal of Arts awards, four National Humanities Medals, a Kennedy Center Honor, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination.
Lawrence died in February 1978 at the age of 60. A year later, in 1979, President Carter presented the NAACP with four of Jacob Lawrence's paintings as a tribute to his achievements as an artist.
Today, his work is held in more than 100 museums worldwide, making him one of the most exhibited African American artists.
He was born on January 4, 1893, in New York City into a family of musicians. His parents were Anna Elizabeth Johnson and Charles Joseph Lawrence, who was born in Kentucky but raised in New York.
Jacob Lawrence began painting at a young age.
Jacob Lawrence was a well-known African American artist of his day. He was most known for his narrative collections, such as the Migration Series and the War Series, in which he represented the African American experience with vibrant colors set against black and brown characters.
Lawrence was born on April 25, 1885 in New York City. His parents were George Washington Lawrence and Anna Collie. They were both born into slavery and they met when their owners married them off. Unfortunately, his father died when Jacob was only nine years old. After this tragedy, Anna decided to make the best of it by opening her own dressmaking shop, which she managed quite successfully.
In 1902, at the age of 20, Jacob moved to Chicago to work as an apprentice painter for William Bell Clark. While there, he also took art classes from Howard Pyle and Walter Shirlen. In 1907, he returned to New York City where he worked as an assistant in a fashion studio until 1910.
During this time, Lawrence developed his own style which combined European influences with American themes and figures. He started exhibiting his works from 1911 and within few years, he became one of the leading artists of the Harlem Renaissance. In 1927, he received a master's degree in fine arts from New York University. Two years later, he became a member of the National Academy of Design.
Lawrence's painting was influenced by the cultural visionaries of the Harlem Renaissance throughout the 1930s. Lawrence continued to make paintings inspired by the African American experience as well as historical and contemporary topics such as war, religion, and civil rights for the next few decades.
He died in January 2018 at the age of 102.
In addition to being one of the most influential black artists of the 20th century, Lawrence was also a poet, playwright, photographer, and filmmaker. He is best known for his paintings which depict scenes from African American life and history.
Here are some of Jacob Lawrence's most famous works:
The Last Supper (1945) shows Jesus Christ presiding over a dinner party at which he is the main guest. It is composed of twelve table settings with dishes representing all the apostles. To the right and left are two other tables with guests who seem to be having a conversation but are actually watching the scene before them. The painting is based on a sermon delivered by Lawrence's father, an Episcopal priest who preached about living ethically and following your conscience. He intended it to be a warning that humanity is about to enter into the pains of hell unless they repent.
Jacob Lawrence was born on April 23, 1918 in Elberton, Georgia.