Archive for October 4th, 2017

American Jacob Lawrence was a great painter who worked as a Social Realist, capturing the experience of the African-American community in the 20th century in a number of different series of paintings and prints featuring his strong colors and often abstract forms.  His work is powerful and engaging across the board, giving the his work a universal appeal that culture and place. I seldom see anything from Lawrence, even among those pieces that don’t move me as much as others, that doesn’t have purpose and something to say.

It is work of humanity.

It’s work that comes across as instantly identifiable as his whenever I see it. His forms and colors and compositions create a unique and individual voice that speaks clearly to the viewer, easily transmitting feeling and emotion from the image to the eye and mind of the viewer. I believe that’s a quality every artist craves and Lawrence has loads of it.

Lawrence was born in Atlantic City in 1917 and lived in New York City from his teens until around 1970 when he moved to Seattle area, where he was a professor of art at the University of Washington for many years after. He died in 2000. His wife, Gwendolyn Knight, was also an artist.

If you’re not familiar with Lawrence’s work, I urge you to look into it a bit more. For now, here’s some of his work below along with a nice video of his work set to Blue Train from jazz great John Coltrane. Enjoy…


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