A History of African-American Artists: From 1792 to the Present

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9780394570167: A History of African-American Artists: From 1792 to the Present

A landmark work of art history: lavishly illustrated and extraordinary for its thoroughness, A History of African-American Artists -- conceived, researched, and written by the great American artist Romare Bearden with journalist Harry Henderson, who completed the work after Bearden's death in 1988 -- gives a conspectus of African-American art from the late eighteenth century to the present. It examines the lives and careers of more than fifty signal African-American artists, and the relation of their work to prevailing artistic, social, and political trends both in America and throughout the world.

Beginning with a radical reevaluation of the enigma of Joshua Johnston, a late eighteenth-century portrait painter widely assumed by historians to be one of the earliest known African-American artists, Bearden and Henderson go on to examine the careers of Robert S. Duncanson, Edward M. Bannister, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Aaron Douglas, Edmonia Lewis, Jacob Lawrence, Hale A. Woodruff, Augusta Savage, Charles H. Alston, Ellis Wilson, Archibald J. Motley, Jr., Horace Pippin, Alma W. Thomas, and many others.

Illustrated with more than 420 black-and-white illustrations and 61 color reproductions -- including rediscovered classics, works no longer extant, and art never before seen in this country -- A History of African-American Artists is a stunning achievement.

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About the Author:

Romare Bearden's works have been exhibited throughout the world, and are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Gallery, and the Whitney Museum. Among the many honors he received was the National Medal of Arts, in 1987. Bearden died in 1988, at the age of seventy-six.

Harry Henderson has written for Collier's, Cosmopolitan, Harper's, Reader's Digest, and Redbook, among other magazines and journals. He previously collaborated with Romare Bearden on Six Black Masters of American Art. Henderson lives in Croton-on-the-Hudson, New York.

From Booklist:

The late Romare Bearden, a premier African American artist in his own right, devoted 15 years to researching and writing this magnificent study of the lives and achievements of 36 significant African American artists born prior to 1925. He and longtime friend and coauthor Henderson were motivated by frustration over the lack of literature on black artists. Through great perseverance and determination, they managed to track down forgotten artwork, piece together vivid biographical portraits, and conduct interviews with surviving artists, who, in spite of their stature and longevity, had never before been interviewed. As Bearden and Henderson set the scene, historically speaking, for such artists as Robert S. Duncanson, Edmonia Lewis, and Henry Ossawa Tanner, they expose the degree to which racism limited opportunities for black artists. The life stories of the artists associated with the Black Renaissance during the 1920s--such as Aaron Douglas; Archibald Motley, the first painter to boldly celebrate urban African American society; and sculptor and influential mentor Augusta Savage--are recorded with consummate insight, as are accounts of the giants of the Depression era, Beauford Delaney and Jacob Lawrence. Richly illustrated and written with resounding empathy and pride, this is a major contribution to the literature on African American history and to the annals of American art. Donna Seaman

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Bearden, Romare, Henderson, Harry
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