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The Shoemaker

Jacob Lawrence (American, Atlantic City, New Jersey 1917–2000 Seattle, Washington )

Date:
1945
Medium:
Watercolor and gouache on paper
Dimensions:
H. 22 3/4, W. 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:
© 2010 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • Description

    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.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): Jacob Lawrence 1945; signed, dated, and inscribed (verso): The Shoemaker/ 1946/ Jacob Lawrence

  • Exhibition History

    Washington, DC: The Phillips Collection, May 26 - August 19, 2001. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, November 8, 2001 - February 3, 2002. ¦Over the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence¦. p. 123 (ref); p. 124, fig. 36 (illus. in color).

    New York: Katonah Museum of Art, March 1 - April 19, 1992. ¦Jacob Lawrence: The Early Decades, 1935-1950¦. Checklist. (illus.) p. 2

    Pleasantville, New York: Reader's Digest, February 16 - April 1, 1988. ¦Black Artists¦.
    Brooklyn, New York: The Brooklyn Museum of Art, October 1 - December 1, 1987. Dallas, Texas: Dallas Museum of Art, July 19 - September 6, 1987. Washington, DC: The Phillips Collection, April 3 - June 1, 1987. Atlanta, Georgia: High Museum of American Art, December 16, 1986 - March 1, 1987. Oakland, California: The Oakland Museum, September 26 - November 30, 1986. Seattle, Washington: Seattle Art Museum, July 10 - September 7, 1986. ¦Jacob Lawrence, American Painter¦.

    American Federation of Arts Travelling Exhibition. Jacksonville, Florida: Jacksonville Art Museum, February 9 - April 14, 1985. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Oklahoma Museum of Art, may 5 - June 30, 1985. New York: National Academy of Design, June 14 - September 1, 1985. Evanston, Illinois: Terra Museum of American Art, September 22 - November 10, 1985. Little Rock, Arkansas: Arkansas Arts Center, December 1, 1985 - January 19, 1986. Colorado Springs, Colorado: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, February 9 - March 30, 1986. St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Museum of Art, April 20 - June 8, 1986. ¦The Figure in 20th Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art¦. P. 88 (discussion), P. 89 (illustration).

    New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, April 1 - May 11, 1980. ¦Whitney at the Met¦.

    Trenton, New Jersey: New Jersey State Museum, January 26 - March 30, 1980. ¦In Celebration: Six Black Americans¦. No. 4 (unpaginated catalogue).

    Moscow: Pushkin Museum, December 15 - February 15, 1978. Leningrad: Hermitage Museum, March 15 - May 15, 1978. Minsk: Palace of Art, June 15 - August 15, 1978. ¦Representations of America¦. [A catalogue was promised but never printed by the Russian government]

    New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, December 8, 1966 - January 29, 1967. ¦Two Hundred Years of Watercolor Painting in America: An Exhibition commemorating the Centennial of the American Watercolor Society¦. P. 34, no. 238 (listed).

  • References

    LeFalle-Collins, Lizzetta. "The Critical Context of Jacob Lawrence's Early Works, 1938-1952" in Over the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence. Peter T. Nesbett, Editor. University of Washington Press, Seattle and London in association with Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, 2001. p. 123 (ref.); p. 124 fig. 36 (illus. in color)

    Seattle Art Museum, Jacob Lawrence, American Painter. University of Washington Press, 1986. pl. 38 (illus.), p. 94.

  • See also
488213

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