African American Art

By eohlsen
  • The Old Plantation

    The Old Plantation
    The Old Plantation has long intrigued many historians as well as the general public. Created between 1785 and 1795 using watercolor, this famous piece has made its way into school textbooks and scholarly publications. For decades, the artist of this piece was unknown until recently it has been proved that it was South Carolina slaveholder John Rose.
  • Miss Breme Jones

    Miss Breme Jones
    Miss Breme Jones was created out of watercolor and ink on woven paper in 1795 by an artist that is unknown today. To the left of her are four lines of script which repeat lines 488-489 of Book Eight in John Milton's "Paradise Lost," a poem in blank verse that was first published in 1667. The lines of the poem are spoken by Adam who is describing Eve to the angel Raphael.
  • Grace Allison McCurdy and Her Daughters, Mary Jane and Letitia Grace

    Grace Allison McCurdy and Her Daughters, Mary Jane and Letitia Grace
    This piece was created in 1804 by Joshua Johnson as oil on canvas. It appears to show a family portrait of Grace Allison McCurdy and her two daughters Mary Jane and Letitia Grace. Grace Allison McCurdy appears to be holding flowers while one of her daughters holds a basket in one hand and an umbrella in the other.
  • The Westwood Children

    The Westwood Children
    This piece was created by a free black artist named Joshua Johnson (1763-1824). It consists of oil on canvas and is owned by the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. Johnson was known for painting multi-figure family group portraits. In this particular portrait he depicts the male children of Margaret and John Westwood as well as the family pet who holds a bird in his mouth.
  • William Berthelet

    William Berthelet
    Created by Robert Scott Duncanson (1821-1872), this piece title William Berthelet is created from oil on canvas. During his lifetime, Duncanson traveled the world in pursuit of his art. He was most famous for his landscape portraits..
  • Dorchester 1856

    Dorchester 1856
    Created in 1856 by Edward Mitchell Banister, this piece was made of oil on canvas. It shows a view of houses on the coast in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
  • Minnehaha

    Minnehaha
    This sculpture was made by Edmonia Lewis out of marble. Minnehaha is a fictional Native American woman documented in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1855 epic poem "The Song of Hiawatha." This piece is beautifully sculpted and looks to be impeccable.
  • Frederick Douglass 1818-1895

    Frederick Douglass 1818-1895
    This is a photograph of African American abolitionist Frederick Douglass. It was taken by Charles Everett sometime in the 1870s. Douglass managed to escape from slavery in 1838 and made himself a whole new life.
  • Approaching Storm

    Approaching Storm
    Approaching Storm was created by Edward M. Bannister (1828-1901). This piece displays a lone figure taking cover before the start of a storm. Although primarily known for his idealised landscapes and seascapes, Bannister also executed portraits, as well as biblical and mythological scenes. The people of the nineteenth century believed that their nation's landscape was infused with God's presence; this piece of art depicts that theory well.
  • Bible Quilt

    Bible Quilt
    After Harriet Powers made this quilt in 1886 a woman offered to buy it from her. Harriet refused to sell but kept in touch with the woman. Five years later when Harriet was having financial troubles she agreed to sell the quilt to the woman for five dollars. The images on the quilt depict biblical scenes or celestial phenomena.
  • Woman Bathing

    Woman Bathing
    Mary Cassatt made this piece in 1890 printed in color from three plates. Cassatt spent her professional life in Paris.
  • The Seine

    The Seine
    Henry Ossawa Tanner made this piece of art from oil on canvas in 1902. It depicts the Seine River which runs through Paris. The warm tones in the sky reflected on the water allows us to assume that there was a beautiful sunset present at the time. The old Trocadéro Palace can be seen in the background, while a boat is displayed in the foreground.
  • The Two Disciples at the Tomb

    The Two Disciples at the Tomb
    This is an oil on canvas painting done by Henry Ossawa Tanner in 1906. The picture shows Peter and John's discovery of the empty tomb on Easter Sunday.
  • Krazy Kat

    Krazy Kat
    A more unique form of art created was the comic strip titled Krazy Kat that was launched on October 13, 1913 and ended on June 25, 1944. The artist of this famous comic strip was named George Herriman (1880-1944). The cast of characters consisted of Krazy Kat the simple-minded, carefree cat who was in love with Ignatz the mouse and thought that the bricks he threw at his head was out of affection. There also was also the protective police dog Offissa Bull Pupp.
  • The Janitor Who Paints

    The Janitor Who Paints
    This piece of art was created of oil on canvas. It was made by Palmer Hayden in 1930. It depicts a man painting while his wife sits in the background holding their child, while thepet cat snoozes on the floor in front of them.
  • Couple Wearing Raccoon Coats with Cadillac

    Couple Wearing Raccoon Coats with Cadillac
    This photograph taken by James Van Der Zee was taken on West 127th Street in Harlem, New York, 1932. Van Der Zee was best known for taking photos of black New Yorkers and was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance.
  • Head of a Negro Woman

    Head of a Negro Woman
    This sculpture entitled Head of a Negro Woman was created by Sargent Claude Johnson. Johnson was a painter, potter, ceramist, printmaker, graphic artist, sculptor, and carver. He worked with a variety of media, including ceramic, clay, oil, stone, terra-cotta, watercolor, and wood. He was one of the first Californian African American artists to achieve a national reputation.
  • Going to Church

    Going to Church
    This piece was created by William Henry Johnson in 1939. This piece caught my attention because of the use of bright colors. I thought the concept of the entire family going to church on a small carriage with the kids on the back was cute. You can even see the church in the background of the painting. It was made of oil on burlap.
  • Interior

    Interior
    This piece of art was created by Horace Pippin from oil on canvas. It depicts a woman and two children in and orderly room. The woman appears to be sititng by the wood stove smoking out of a pipe, while the children are playing. During World War I, Horace could no longer use his right arm after being shot by a sniper, but he still managed to create art by holding his right arm with hisleft hand.
  • Mother

    Mother
    This piece is known by two different titles: "Mother" and "Awaiting His Return." It is made from lithograph in black on wove paper by Charles Wilbert White. It shows an African American woman waiting patiently, but there is also a sense of boredom bestowed upon her.
  • The Card Game

    The Card Game
    The Card Game was created by William Carter in 1950. It was made from purple, blue, and black ink on white gouache with traces of charcoal on wood-pulp laminate board. I really like the old look to this piece.
  • Birthday Party

    Birthday Party
    This piece of art titled Birthday party was made by Margaret Burroughs in 1957 made from Linocut on cream wove paper. It depicts exactly what it is called, many children celebrating a birthday party.
  • Tree

    Tree
    Bob Thompson's Tree is based on the fantastical, morally charged work of Francisco de Goya, the Spanish master. This piece combines two plates of Goya's 1799 collection of etchings. Los caprichos: Volaverunt (They Have Flown) on the left and Quien lo creyera! (Who Would Have Thought It!) on the right. Thompson altered the characters by adding elements of his own.
  • La Primavera

    La Primavera
    Romare Bearden was an African artist and writer. He made this piece in 1967. It is title La Primavera; it is an allusion to a piece painted by the Italian master Sandro Boticelli in 1478. It shows a meeting between Chloris and Zephyrus (Greek god of the west wind). It is a collage made from mixed media; this style of art reminds me of Pablo Picasso.
  • Sharecropper

    Sharecropper
    Sharecropper was a piece created by Elizabeth Catlett (1915-present). It is color linocut on cream Japanese paper and was made in 1952 but not printed until 1970. It is one of Catlett's most famous pieces of art. The African American woman depicts a strong attitude and appears to maintain her dignity.
  • Red Rose Cantata

    Red Rose Cantata
    Though there are no actual roses in this acrylic painting on canvas, the color and the title of the work allows us to picture it as roses. It was made by Alma Thomas in 1973. A lot of concentration was put into this piece. You can tell by looking at how evenly spaced the brushstrokes are.
  • African Nude

    African Nude
    James Lesesne Wells created this piece of art in 1980 from color linocut on Japan paper. It shoFs a woman in a seductive pose wearing only a large necklace. Female slave's identities in the Ottoman Empire became sexualized and popularized during the nineteenth century.
  • Untitled (Man Smoking/Malcom X)

    Untitled (Man Smoking/Malcom X)
    This photograph was snapped in 1990; it is a part of The Kitchen Series by Carrie Mae Weems. The photo depicts a man and woman playing cards at the kitchen table while the man smokes a cigarette. On the wall behind them is a picture of Malcom X.
  • Keys to the Coop

    Keys to the Coop
    This work creates a linocut of an African American girl's silhouette holding a decapitated chicken head in one hand and a key to the chicken coop in the other. It was created by Kara Walker in 1997.
  • Aborted but Beautiful

    Aborted but Beautiful
    This piece was created by Trenton Doyle Hancock in 2005 from The Ossified Theosophied. It is displayed in the James Cohan Gallery in New York.