Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) was an American painter, associated with the Harlem Renaissance and the Social Realist Movement. Lawrence forged a unique and original art form, combining the tempera technique (pigment mixed with a binder consisting of egg yolk thinned with water) with a cubist style. All of his work was unmistakably modern, but remained within the conceptual framework of realism and figurative painting. Lawrence referred to his style as “dynamic cubism,” though by his own account the primary influence was not so much the French tradition, so much as the shapes and colors of Harlem. Continue reading Jacob Lawrence
Diego Rivera (1186-1957) is considered one of the greatest Mexican painters of the twentieth century. Among his many artistic contributions, Rivera is credited with the reintroduction of fresco painting and his works helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement. Between 1922 and 1953, Rivera painted murals in Mexico City, Chapingo, Cuernavaca, San Francisco, Detroit, and New York City. Rivera’s political views and tempestuous romance with the painter Frieda Kahlo were a continuous source of public intrigue. Continue reading Diego Rivera
Lois Mailou Jones (1905-1998) was an American abstract-expressionist painter associated with the New Negro Movement. Jones’ numerous oils and watercolors incorporating African and Hatian motifs are her most widely recognized works. Jones’ mastery of the principles of Cubism, her affinity for bright colors and her unique ethnic style have proven to have an enduring appeal. Continue reading Lois Mailou Jones
Archibald John Motley, Jr. (1891-1981) exemplifies the cultural diversity within the American modernist art community known as the New Negro Movement. Motley is best known for his colorful chronicling of the African-American experience during the 1920s and 1930s, depicting a vivid, urban black culture that bore little resemblance to the conventional and marginalizing rustic images of black Southerners which were common during this era. Continue reading Archibald John Motley, Jr.
Aaron Douglas (1898-1979) was the Harlem Renaissance artist whose work best exemplifies the New Negro Movement. Douglas was an active member of the thriving cultural milieu known as the New Negro Movement which sought to cultivate the Black American cultural experience and highlight the effects of racial injustice. Progressive at heart, he developed a distinctive painting style using silhouetted forms and fractured space to express both, the harsh struggles of African American life in 1920’s Harlem and the future hope of social progress. Continue reading Aaron Douglas
Thomas Jefferson’s last testament to his political, religious, and educational ideology is encapsulated by his self-ascribed epitaph: “Here lies Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and father of the University of Virginia.” . Fittingly, these three accomplishments are the culmination of Thomas Jefferson’s lifework, and reflect the progress he made in affecting American attitudes in each of these areas. Continue reading Thomas Jefferson: The Progressive Libertarian