Jacob Lawrence  (American, 1917-2000) 

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Jacob Lawrence (American, September 7, 1917–June 9, 2000) was a painter whose works were the first by an African American to be included in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY. Lawrence was born in Atlantic City, NJ, and he moved with his siblings to New York when he was 13 years old. Lawrence's mother enrolled him in art classes in Harlem to keep him occupied. During this time, the budding artist liked to copy the patterns on his family's carpet and draw them with crayons, and one of his art teachers recognized the young boy’s talent.

Lawrence dropped out of school at the age of 16 and took up work in a laundry and printing firm, while at the same time attending art classes at the Harlem Art Workshop. These classes were taught by Charles Alston (American, 1907–1977), who urged the teenager to start attending the Harlem Community Art Center. Lawrence got a paid position at the center and had the opportunity to study with different renowned Harlem Renaissance artists, including Henry Bannarn (American, 1910–1965). After marrying Gwendolyn Knight (American, 1913–2005), who was also a student of Savage, Lawrence joined the United States Coast Guard in 1943, during the Second World War. He continued to paint during his time with the Coast Guard.

Examples of Lawrence's work include The Builders (1947), Carpenters (1977), and Builders - Green Hills (1998). In 1947, Lawrence taught at Black Mountain College, in Black Mountain, NC. He also taught design and figure drawing at Pratt Institute in New York. Lawrence moved to Seattle, WA, and joined the University of Seattle as an art professor, staying there from 1971 to 1983. Lawrence's paintings have been exhibited in various different places, including Downtown Gallery, New York (1953), San Antonio Museum of Art, TX (1996), and Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL (2000). Lawrence received numerous awards and recognitions including the Spingarn Medal (1970) and The Washington Medal of Merit in 1998. Lawrence's work is represented by the Artists Rights Society. Lawrence died in Seattle, WA, on June 9, 2000.

Find Jacob Lawrence artworks for sale worldwide, artworks that sold at auction, a detailed biography, and more information on the artist below.
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Jacob Lawrence, Confrontation at the Bridge

 

Jacob Lawrence
Confrontation at the Bridge
1975

Sightlines
Jacob Lawrence, Conciliatory Manner (No. 18 from the Struggle Series)

 

Jacob Lawrence
Conciliatory Manner (No. 18 from the Struggle Series)
1956

Jonathan Boos, LLC
Jacob Lawrence, Nativity

 

Jacob Lawrence
Nativity
1954

Jonathan Boos, LLC
Jacob Lawrence, Seamstresses

 

Jacob Lawrence
Seamstresses
1954

A.J. Kollar Fine Paintings, LLC
Jacob Lawrence, Genesis

 

Jacob Lawrence
Genesis
1989

RoGallery.com
Jacob Lawrence, Builders Playing Chess

 

Jacob Lawrence
Builders Playing Chess
1996

Drake Fine Art
Jacob Lawrence, New York in Transit

 

Jacob Lawrence
New York in Transit
1998

Drake Fine Art
Jacob Lawrence, Schomburg Library

 

Jacob Lawrence
Schomburg Library
1987

Mojo Portfolio
Jacob Lawrence, To The Defense

 

Jacob Lawrence
To The Defense
1989

RoGallery.com
Past auction results (355)  View All
Jacob Lawrence, Olympische Spiele Muenchen (The Runners)

 

Jacob Lawrence
Olympische Spiele Muenchen (The Runners), 1972
poster laid on linen

 

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Jacob Lawrence, The March (from the Toussaint L'Ouverture series)

 

Jacob Lawrence
The March (from the Toussaint L'Ouverture series), 1995
color silkscreen

 

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Jacob Lawrence, Deception (from the Toussaint L'Ouverture series)

 

Jacob Lawrence
Deception (from the Toussaint L'Ouverture series), 1997
color silkscreen

 

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1917   Born in Atlantic City, NJ
1930   Moved to Harlem, New York, NY
1934 - 1939   Attended the Harlem Art Workshop, New York, NY
1939 - 1941   Worked on Federal Arts Project as part of Works Progress Administration
1943 - 1945   Served in the US Coast Guard and Navy during WWII
1947   Taught at Black Mountain College, Black Mountain, NC
1953   Received an American Academy of Arts and Letters grant
1955 - 1970   Taught design and figure drawing at Pratt Institute, New York, NY
1971 - 1983   Taught at University of Washington, Seattle, WA
2000   Died in Seattle, WA
2010   Jacob Lawrence, DC Moore Gallery, New York, NY
2006   Jacob Lawrence: Tales of Freedom, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, PA (solo)
2005   Jacob Lawrence: Three Series of Prints, Genesis, Hiroshima, and Toussaint L'ouverture, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL (solo)
2004   Jacob Lawrence's War Series, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (solo)
2001 - 2003   Over the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence, The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC (solo)
2001   Jacob Lawrence Memorial Exhibition, DC Moore Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2000   Jacob Lawrence: Games, Francine Seders Gallery, Seattle, WA (solo)
The Toussaint L'Ouverture Series, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL (solo)
1999   The Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman Series of Narrative Paintings, Albany Museum of Art, Albany, GA (solo)
1998   Lives Connected: Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight, The Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN
1996   Jacob Lawrence: The Hiroshima Paintings, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, TX (solo)
Jacob Lawrence: An American Society in Transition, San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TX (solo)
1995   Jacob Lawrence: War Series, The Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris, New York, NY (solo)
1994   Jacob Lawrence Inaugural Exhibition, Paintings 1972-1984, Jacob Lawrence Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA (solo)
1992   Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (retrospective)
Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (retrospective)
1986   Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA (retrospective)
1984   Fifty Year Retrospective, Jamaica Arts Center, Jamaica, NY (retrospective)
1974 - 1975   Jacob Lawrence Retrospective Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (retrospective)
1969   The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (solo)
1960   Jacob Lawrence, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY (retrospective)
1953   Downtown Gallery, New York, NY
  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
  Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
  Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas
  Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN
  Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
  Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
  Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY
  Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
  Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
  Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
  Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
  Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT
  Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
  Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
  Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
  North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
  National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC
  Museum of the National Academy of Design, New York, NY
  Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, WI
  Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE
2010    Hills, Patricia. Painting Harlem Modern: The Art of Jacob Lawrence. California: University of California Press, 2010
2000    Nesbitt, Peter T.; DuBois, Michelle, Jacob Lawrence, Paintings, Drawings and Murals (1935-199) A Catalogue Raisonne' , University of Washington Press, Seattle, WA
2000    Nesbitt, Peter T.; DuBois, Michelle, Over The Line the Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence, University of Washington Press, Seattle, WA
1986    Wheat, Ellen. Jacob Lawrence, American Painter. Washington: University of Washington Press, 1986