January 14 – May 4, 2003
The Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Gallery
Press Preview: Monday, January 13, 10 a.m. - noon
More than 80 works—drawn extensively from 200 prints donated to the Museum in 1999 by Reba and Dave Williams—will be on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from January 14 through May 4, 2003. African-American Artists, 1929-1945: Prints, Drawings, and Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art will feature a variety of print media including intaglio, lithography, woodcut and wood engraving, and serigraph (screen printing), as well as a selection of paintings and watercolors. The exhibition focuses on aspects of daily life for African Americans during the latter period of the Harlem Renaissance, the Depression, and World War II.
African-American Artists, 1929-1945: Prints, Drawings, and Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art will feature the work of such artists as Robert Blackburn, Elizabeth Catlett, William H. Johnson, Raymond Steth, and Dox Thrash, for whom printmaking served as a primary creative outlet. Paintings and watercolors by Jacob Lawrence, Joseph Delaney, Lois Mailou Jones, Horace Pippin, Romare Bearden, Samuel Joseph Brown, Palmer Hayden, and Bill Traylor will also be included.
The exhibition will highlight the Metropolitan's holdings of African-American art made between 1929 and 1945, when new opportunities (under the WPA) led to technical innovations in printmaking and a resurgence of artistic production. The installation will explore seven central themes: 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.
This will be the first exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in recent years to focus attention on the accomplishments of 20th-century African-American artists. It will also offer an opportunity to display a substantial number of acquisitions that have not been exhibited previously at the Metropolitan.
The exhibition is co-organized by Lisa M. Messinger, Associate Curator, Department of Modern Art and William S. Lieberman, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Chairman, Department of Modern Art.
An illustrated publication, featuring 50 works in the exhibition, will contain an introductory essay by Ms. Messinger, an essay on printmaking during the WPA by Rachel Mustalish, Assistant Conservator, and explanatory texts on each work by Lisa Gail Collins, Assistant Professor at Vassar College. It will be published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The exhibition will be featured on the Museum's Web site at www.metmuseum.org.
A range of educational programs will accompany the exhibition, including lectures, gallery talks, poetry readings, and films.