Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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The Shoemaker

Artist:
Jacob Lawrence (American, Atlantic City, New Jersey 1917–2000 Seattle, Washington )
Date:
1945
Medium:
Watercolor and gouache on paper
Dimensions:
22 3/4 x 31 in. (57.8 x 78.7 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
George A. Hearn Fund, 1946
Accession Number:
46.73.2
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2015 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Not on view
The Shoemaker was among the first works Lawrence painted after returning from military service in World War II in early December 1945. Resuming one of his most enduring themes, these pictures from late 1945-46 focus on workers in the Harlem and show the range of occupations open to African Americans at the time, from teachers and office assistants to barbers, seamstresses, and steelworkers. Although Lawrence's art was never overtly political, his subjects highlighted social issues, often with pathos and humor. Here, he contrasts the enormous body of the cobbler with his cramped quarters and the delicate shoes and tacks that occupy his attention.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): Jacob Lawrence 1945; signed, dated, and inscribed (verso): The Shoemaker/ 1946/ Jacob Lawrence
[Downtown Gallery, New York City, until 1946; sold to MMA]

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Two Hundred Years of Watercolor Painting in America: An Exhibition Commemorating the Centennial of the American Watercolor Society," December 8, 1966–January 29, 1967, no. 238.

Brooklyn. Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. "Selected Works by Black Artists from the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 14–June 14, 1976, unnumbered cat.

Moscow. State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. "Representations of America," December 15, 1977–February 15, 1978, no catalogue.

Leningrad. State Hermitage Museum. "Representations of America," March 15–May 15, 1978, no catalogue.

Minsk, Belarus. Palace of Art. "Representations of America," June 15–August 15, 1978, no catalogue.

Trenton. New Jersey State Museum. "In Celebration: Six Black Americans," January 26–March 30, 1980, no. 4.

New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Juliana Force's Selections for The Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 1–May 11, 1980, no catalogue.

Jacksonville, Fla. Jacksonville Art Museum. "The Figure in 20th Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 9–April 21, 1985, unnum. cat. (p. 89).

Oklahoma City. Oklahoma Museum of Art. "The Figure in 20th Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 5–June 30, 1985, unnum. cat.

New York. National Academy of Design. "The Figure in 20th Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," July 16–September 1, 1985, unnum. cat.

Evanston, Ill. Terra Museum of American Art. "The Figure in 20th Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 15–November 10, 1985, unnum. cat.

Little Rock. Arkansas Arts Center. "The Figure in 20th Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 12, 1985–January 19, 1986, unnum. cat.

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. "The Figure in 20th Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 9–March 30, 1986, unnum. cat.

St. Paul. Minnesota Museum of Art. "The Figure in 20th Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 20–June 8, 1986, unnum. cat.

Pleasantville, N. Y. Reader's Digest. "Faces and Figures: Selected Works by Black Artists from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 12–April 1, 1988, brochure no. 15.

Katonah, N. Y. Katonah Museum of Art. "Jacob Lawrence: The Early Decades, 1935–1950," March 1–April 19, 1992, unnum. brochure (as "Shoemaker").

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Direct Eye: Self–Taught Artists and Their Influence on Twentieth Century Art," June 19–October 18, 1998, no catalogue.

Washington, D. C. Phillips Collection. "Over the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence," May 26–August 19, 2001, no. 36.

New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Over the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence," November 8, 2001–February 3, 2002, no. 36.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "African-American Artists, 1929–1945: Prints, Drawings, and Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 15–May 4, 2003, extended to July 6, 2003, no. 30.

Lowery Stokes Sims. The Figure in 20th Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., Jacksonville Art Museum. New York, 1984, pp. 10, 71, 88–89, ill.

Ellen Harkins Wheat. Jacob Lawrence: American Painter. Exh. cat., Seattle Art Museum. Seattle, 1986, p. 71, colorpl. 38, as "Shoemaker".

Peter T. Nesbett and Michelle DuBois. Jacob Lawrence: Paintings, Drawings, and Murals (1935–1999). A Catalogue Raisonné. Seattle, 2000, p. 89, no. P45-09, ill. (color), note that it was probably completed in late 1945 and inscribed on its verso in early 1946.

Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins in Over the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence. Ed. Peter T. Nesbett. Exh. cat., Phillips Collection, Washington, D. C. Seattle, 2001, pp. 123–24, no. 36, ill. (color).



In a 1946 artist's questionnaire, Lawrence dated this work February 1946. Ref. Nesbett and DuBois 2000 note that it was probably completed, signed, and dated in late 1945 and inscribed on its verso in early 1946.
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