Black Artists in America From the Great Depression to Civil Rights Earnestine Lovelle Jenkins

Publication date:
11 Jan 2022
Yale University Press
168 pages: 283 x 225mm
120 color illus., incl. 1 gatefold
Sales territories:

Exploring how artists at midcentury addressed the social issues of their day—from Jacob Lawrence to Elizabeth Catlett, Rose Piper to Charles White

This timely book surveys the varied ways in which Black American artists responded to the political, social, and economic climate of the United States from the time of the Great Depression through the landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision. Featuring paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by artists including Jacob Lawrence, Horace Pippin, Augusta Savage, Charles White, Elizabeth Catlett, Norman Lewis, Walter Augustus Simon, Loïs Mailou Jones, and more, the book recognizes the contributions Black artists made to Social Realism and abstraction as they debated the role of art in society and community. Black artists played a vital part in midcentury art movements, and the inclusive policies of government programs like the Works Progress Administration brought more of these artists into mainstream circles.
In three chapters, Earnestine Jenkins discusses the work of Black artists during this period; the perspective of Black women artists with a focus on the sculpture of Augusta Savage; and the pedagogy of Black American art through the art and teaching of Walter Augustus Simon.

Earnestine Lovelle Jenkins is professor of African American art history at the University of Memphis.

Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis
(October 17, 2021–January 2, 2022)