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Perspectives Black History

Jacob Lawrence: An Intimate Portrait, 1993

Oct 9, 2020 23 MINUTES
The American modernist Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000) is best remembered today for his vivid depictions of the Black experience, especially “The Migration Series” (1941–42). In this short feature, produced by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to accompany a 1993 exhibition of his earlier historical series on the radical lives of Frederick Douglass (1938) and Harriet Tubman (1939), hear directly from Lawrence and those who knew him well—including his artist wife Gwendolyn Knight, and Barbara Thomas, artist, friend, and former student. The film also highlights a few panels from Lawrence’s epic if lesser-known series, “Struggle: From the History of the American People” (1954–56), currently featured in the special exhibition, "Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle," on view at The Met through November 1, 2020.

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As part of The Met’s 150th anniversary in 2020, each month we will release three to four films from the Museum’s extensive moving-image archive, which comprises over 1,500 films, both made and collected by the Museum, from the 1920s onward. This includes rarely seen artist profiles and documentaries, as well as process films about art-making techniques and behind-the-scenes footage of the Museum.

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