Jacob's Light (1/15)
pigment print on cotton rag paper
9.5 x 14 inches
Jacob Lawrence captured African American life during the Harlem Renaissance with a style he coined “dynamic cubism” which employs blocks of dark neutral tones with bright, vivid colors. He is best known for his 60-panel Migration Series which depicts the Great Migration of African Americans out of the rural South after World War I. At 25 years old, Lawrence's series received national recognition. He was the first Black man to have paintings displayed in the Vatican and the White House and continues to have his work shown in several permanent collections at the Whitney, The Met, MoMA, The Smithsonian, and the National Gallery.
While art was his first love, Jacob Lawrence entered the US Coast Guard in 1943. He completed basic training in Maryland and was assigned to St. Augustine where he served as a steward’s mate. After receiving notoriety for the 60-panel painting formerly titled Migration of the Negro, his commanding officer Capt. JS Rosenthal offered space in his home for Lawrence to continue working on his art.
For 59 years, he was married to the prominent artist Gwendolyn Knight. After battling a long-term illness, Jacob Lawrence passed away in June 2000 in Seattle, Washington.