The exhibition is made possible by The Fletcher Foundation and Fletcher Asset Management, Inc.

Additional support has been provided by Jane and Robert Carroll.

Selected Highlights

  • Pool Parlor

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

    Date: 1942
    Accession Number: 42.167

  • Golgotha

    Romare Bearden (American, Charlotte, North Carolina 1911–1988 New York)

    Date: 1945
    Accession Number: 54.143.9

  • Self-Portrait

    Horace Pippin (American, West Chester, Pennsylvania 1888–1946 West Chester, Pennsylvania)

    Date: 1944
    Accession Number: 1982.55.7

  • The Soup Kitchen

    Norman Wilfred Lewis (American, New York 1909–1979 New York)

    Date: ca. 1937
    Accession Number: 1999.529.118

  • Streetcar Scene

    John Woodrow Wilson (American, 1922–2015)

    Date: 1945
    Accession Number: 1999.529.198

  • Self-Portrait

    Samuel Joseph Brown, Jr. (American, 1907–1994)

    Date: ca. 1941
    Accession Number: 43.46.4

African-American Artists, 1929–1945

Prints, Drawings, and Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art

January 15–July 6, 2003

More than seventy works by African-American artists—drawn exclusively from the collection of the Metropolitan—include prints by Robert Blackburn, Elizabeth Catlett, William H. Johnson, Raymond Steth, and Dox Thrash, among others, as well as paintings and watercolors by Jacob Lawrence, Joseph Delaney, Lois Mailou Jones, Horace Pippin, Romare Bearden, Samuel Joseph Brown, Palmer Hayden, and Bill Traylor. Focusing on the years 1929–45, the selection reflects aspects of daily life for African Americans during the latter part of the Harlem Renaissance, the Depression and New Deal era, and World War II.

New opportunities between 1929 and 1945 under the WPA led to technical innovations in printmaking and a resurgence of artistic production. The installation explores eight central themes: Cultural Identity and Heritage, Faces (portraits), the South, the North, Religion, Labor, Recreation, and War (World War II). Pictures of home, work, and leisure activities convey the artists' dreams, aspirations, and perseverance in the face of economic and social realities, while others explore images related to their ethnic cultural heritage.