Arts District

Exhibit at Reginald F. Lewis Museum Turns Spotlight On Jacob Lawrence

Presents more than 50 works owned by Maryland collectors

By Gabriella Souza | September 12, 2017, 2:43 pm

Carpenters, 1977 -Courtesy of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum
Arts District

Exhibit at Reginald F. Lewis Museum Turns Spotlight On Jacob Lawrence

Presents more than 50 works owned by Maryland collectors

By Gabriella Souza | September 12, 2017, 2:43 pm

Carpenters, 1977 -Courtesy of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum

When he was living in Harlem during the 1930s and 1940s, Jacob Lawrence would walk the 50 to 60 blocks from his home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There, he would gaze at the series of paintings created by art masters like Leonardo Da Vinci that were dedicated to the life of one figure in history. And Lawrence would gather inspiration for how he could memorialize his own African-American heroes.

“Then he would spend hours at the library researching Harriet Tubman and Frederic Douglass, choosing the scenes that he could illuminate like the old masters did,” said Jacqueline Copeland, director of education and visitor services at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum.

That led to Lawrence’s own series of paintings, and prints of some of those works are now on display at a new exhibition at the Lewis museum. Maryland Collects: Jacob Lawrence gathers more than 50 prints, as well as two artist books, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the renowned artist’s birth.

Lawrence was fortunate enough to find success early in his career. When he was 24 years old, the Philips Collection in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Modern Art in New York each purchased 30 pieces from his Migration series, for which he is probably best known. And Lawrence was particularly prolific. Copeland notes that he created 31 paintings in a series about Frederic Douglass as well as 30 paintings about the life of Harriet Tubman during two years.

“He was a historian all to himself, and he was a storyteller,” said Charles Berea, the Lewis museum’s director of collections and exhibitions. “He painted the American scene, and he wanted to educate the masses on African-American history.”

One part of that history is a series of vibrant prints showcased at this exhibition that detail the life of Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L’Overture. Lawrence expertly depicts both the action of the rebels capture and more intimate moments, like L’Overture’s birth, with boldness and emotion.

Prints from the Tubman series are also on display, including a brilliant, more abstracted scene of figures in motion entitled Play. And Lawrence’s works that explore sermons surrounding the beginning of the Bible’s Book of Genesis and more commercials give the exhibit a rounded

A particularly notable part of this exhibit is that, as the title would suggest, all of the works came from collectors in Maryland. Berea said the museum intends to continue this series “to show what truly great works of art are right here in our state.”    

Maryland Collects: Jacob Lawrence will be on view until Jan. 7, 2018.




You May Also Like


Arts District

The Big Baltimore Playlist: April 2020

With concerts canceled due to coronavirus, here are 10 local songs to download now.

MaxSpace

Are Drive-Ins the Theaters of the Future?

The folks at Bengies sure hope so.

ArtsDistrict

Art of Baltimore Project Showcases Digital Works Throughout Downtown

Campaign supports local artists while illuminating the city for essential employees.


Arts District

Black Musicians Write the Soundtrack of the City

Consider these Baltimore artists essential listening.

Arts & Culture

Book Reviews: May 2020

The latest reads from Mary Rizzo and K.M. Szpara

Arts & Culture

Author Mary Rizzo Examines The Arts’ Role in Baltimore’s Identity

We talk to Rizzo about her new book, ’Come and Be Shocked.’

Connect With Us

Most Read


Maryland Hoops, and Everyone Else, Stomachs A Sudden End to Their Seasons: Plus, an update on Trey Mancini’s health and Joe Flacco shows for Marshal Yanda’s retirement party

Maryland Farmers Market Association Closes in Vital Time for Local Foodways: What will the loss mean for Baltimore farms and food-insecure communities?

Art of Baltimore Project Showcases Digital Works Throughout Downtown: Campaign supports local artists while illuminating the city for essential employees.

Lamenting a Spring Without The Orioles: What we miss most when the game goes away,

Grocery Workers Manage to Keep Morale High and Give Back Despite Long Hours: Managers and employees are working in overdrive to keep communities fed.