Birds in Flight

Artist: Aaron Douglas
Medium: oil on canvas
Date: c. 1927

In 1927, Aaron Douglas and his wife, Alta, moved to France for a yearlong period of study. While working in Paris, Douglas met his idol Henry Ossawa Tanner and greatly expanded his knowledge of modern painting, especially Cubism. The angular Cubist rhythms that animate this dynamic canvas, which Douglas made during his stay in Paris, reflect his discovery of the work of Picasso. Like Picasso, Douglas embraced African sculpture and masks as a source of imagery for his modernist abstractions, which, after his return to the United States in 1928, would make him one of the foremost visual artists of the Harlem Renaissance.

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