Thursday, October 14, 2010

Art in the Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance was a very important period for black visual artists. It was a period of time where they could actually accomplish what they couldn’t in the past. Before the Civil War, during the tough period of slavery, black artists were not considered artists. The most they could do with their talent were practical skills and crafts such as ironwork, cabinetmaking, quilting, and silversmithing. They could not pursue art as a career, much less be able to train and educate themselves in the arts to develop their skills.
During the Harlem renaissance, black artists finally introduced their talent to the society. They were able to study and dominate the art world like they had always wanted to. They gained more recognition as the actual painters and sculptors they were.
Harlem Renaissance artists introduced new forms of art that would be remembered for the rest of time. They captured the many perspectives of black culture in bold stylized portraits and amazing sculptures.

"The Father of African-American Art."

Born in Topeka, Kansas, Aaron Douglas was one of the most important artists in the Harlem renaissance. Influenced by Henry Ossawa Tanner and encouraged by his mother to develop his creative interest in art, Douglas overcame the obstacles presented to him in his life and reached his goal in pursuing a career in the arts. He created impressive murals, paintings, and illustrations in which he mixed the colorful cubist style with silhouetted figures. With his unique style, he portrayed the reality of the current life for African Americans and the hopes for a better future. He captured the beauty of black culture and the black environment in his work
"I refuse to compromise and see blacks as anything less than a proud and majestic people."-Aaron Douglas

Augusta Savage

Born in Green Cove Springs, Florida, Augusta Savage was a successful artist, activist, and educator in the Harlem Renaissance. In the 1920s, she studied art in New York City. After excelling there, Augusta applied for a summer program in France to study art where she was rejected because of her race. This being an eye opening event, Augusta involved herself in politics as well, protesting against discrimination. During the Harlem Renaissance, Augusta made a name for herself as a portrait sculptor. She made impressive sculptures and busts of leading African Americans. Although she faced challenges because of her race and sex, Augusta Savage managed to overcome the barriers she came across and become one of the leading artists of the Harlem Renaissance.

[By: Angela Pool]

Works Cited
"Aaron Douglas." Aaron Douglas. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2010.
"Aaron Douglas and the Harlem Renaissance." Dexigner. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2010.

"Augusta Savage Biography -" N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2010.

"Freedom Road
: Writing Art." Freedom Road. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2010.

"Harlem Renaissance: Visual Arts  Summary  |" | Study Guides, Lesson Plans, Book Summaries and more. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2010.

Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Augusta Savage." Women's History - Comprehensive Women's History Research Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2010.
Powell, Richard J.. "African American Art: Harlem Renaissance." ArtLex Art Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2010.

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