The Builders

Jacob Lawrence (United States)

The Builders Series communicates Lawrence’s belief in the possibility of building a better world through skill, ingenuity, hard work, and collaboration. The Builders concept first appeared in Lawrence’s work in the mid-1940s, and by the late 1960s had became a major theme of his artwork. For the last three decades of his life, Lawrence consistently pursued the Builders motif, creating a sequence of vibrant modernist images that highlight his pervasive humanist vision.

His subjects were carpenters, cabinetmakers, bricklayers, and construction workers in a variety of workaday and family situations. Overall, they came to symbolize some of his larger ideas about American culture, hope, persistence, and the shared responsibility for transforming society, inspired, as he once said, by his “own observations of the human condition.”

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