Artist: Jacob Lawrence
Medium: tempera on panel board
Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series, is a sequence of 60 paintings, depicting the mass migration of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North between World War I and World War II—a development which had previously received little public attention.
Lawrence, with the help of his wife, artist Gwendolyn Knight, spent months preparing the 60 boards and distilling the subject matter into captions. He created the paintings in tempera, a water-base paint that dries rapidly. To keep the colors consistent, Lawrence applied one hue at a time to every painting where it was to appear, requiring him to plan all 60 paintings in detail at once.
The series was the subject of a solo show at the Downtown Gallery in Manhattan in 1941, making Lawrence the first black artist represented by a prominent New York gallery.