Posts Tagged 'Jacob Lawrence'

New faces and places in C3

Portrait of a Woman, 16th century, oil on panel, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Chester Dale 1963.173

The walls of C3 were hung with a few new artworks last week. The 16th century German painting, Portrait of a Woman now resides near the Community Choice chalkboard. The oil on panel depiction acts as a useful illustration of what typically comes to mind as a “traditional” portrait.

Arnold Newman, Jacob Lawrence with “The Visitors”, 1959, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, the Jolesch Acquisition Fund 2001.259

Her unemotional gaze and detailed attire make a striking contrast with the three works installed on another wall of this gallery. These include two images by cameramen recognized for their ability to convey their subjects’ emotional as well as professional identities. In these works, the cameras captured artists Jacob Lawrence and Georgia O’Keeffe.

Kermit Oliver, Autoritratto, 1993, acrylic on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, The Barrett Collection, Dallas, Texas 2007.53.34 © Kermit Oliver

The third addition to the gallery of portraits is the lone example of self-representation in the room. Kermit Oliver’s 1993 depiction of himself includes a variety of animals, plants, and architecture arranged into one of his signature “painted collages.”

David Avison, Oak Bluff, Martha’s Vineyard, 1978, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund 1980.13

On the Communication through Narrative wall there are now two examples of Garry Winogrand’s street photography and a panoramic scene of Martha’s Vineyard produced by one of Winogrand’s former students, David Avison. Like the photos that were previously displayed in this space, the appearance of casual snapshots and indeterminate activities can act as a creative launchpad for visitors to compose their own imagined narratives at a nearby table.

Please drop by to see the new faces and places on view in the C3 galleries!

Emily Schiller is the Head of Interpretation at the DMA

“One Way Ticket”

To celebrate the day dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. and his impact on America, the DMA is hosting Boston-based performing group, Trio Ardente. The Trio will be performing “One Way Ticket”, which was created by American composer Robert Bradshaw inspired by the poem with the same name, written by Langston Hughes, at the DMA tomorrow, January 13 at 2:00 p.m.. These two major artistic works were created in response to the 60 paintings by Jacob Lawrence, titled, Migration Series.

Migration Series is a prolific piece of American art that propelled Lawrence to a place amongst the most influential painters in our country’s history. The paintings depict the migration of over a million African Americans from the rural South to the industrial North after World War I had begun. I asked Adam Gautille, one of the members of Trio Ardente about the group’s process and why they chose this piece to recreate for the performance.

A photograph from the DMA collection of Jacob Lawrence with his painting The Visitors, which is also in the DMA collection
[image credit: Arnold Newman, Jacob Lawrence with “The Visitors”, 1959, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, the Jolesch Acquisition Fund 2001.259]

Q: What drew Trio Ardente to this specific musical, art, and spoken word performance?
A: I grew up surrounded by the arts, other musicians, dancers, artists and later in college became an avid reader of poetry. I realized very quickly that art, as a whole, is something we all experience very differently. Some people are very tactile and visual learners, others are aural and some don’t particularly care for either of those and they just love poetry and words. This program “One-Way Ticket” was our first commissioned work by Robert Bradshaw. We discussed a piece involving multiple mediums of art and a strong message, we eventually landed on social justice. Rob took a dive into history and came up with a great work by pairing 4 of Jacob Lawrence’s 60 paintings in the Migration Series, with a stanza about those paintings by Langston Hughes. He wrote a movement around these elements in a response to how they moved him. 

Q: Did you and the other performers look to the Migration Series while practicing for the performance as a visual prompt?
A: We absolutely looked to the art and poetry as a way to inform the mood or colors we are striving for in our performance. The subject matter of the Great Migration is extremely powerful, so often if we are struggling with a musical decision we take a step back and look at the bigger picture to give us some guidance.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about this concert?
A: For us, the chance to celebrate Black musicians, artists, and poets is incredible. Too often in classical music we miss a rich part of American history, so when we get the chance to put it on display we take it. I also love that Jacob Lawrence was so greatly affected by his time during the Great Migration, that it made him take to art and paint his experiences.

Q: What do you think the connection is between the Migration Series and Martin Luther King Jr.’s beliefs and teachings?
A: The links between the Migration Series and Martin Luther King Jr’s beliefs and teachings are parallel. Between segregation, Jim Crow Laws, a fear of death and a desire for a new life with the same opportunities others were born with, MLK Jr. and Jacob Lawrence were seeing the same things at slightly different times. We can still see these things subtly and sometimes not so subtly in our world today, which is why it is so important to us to bring this program to the public. Many people are not taught about the Great Migration or really understand its impact on America to this day.

Trio Ardente will be performing “One Way Ticket” on Saturday, January 13 at 2:00 p.m. at the DMA. Tickets are available online or at the door for $10.

Video via Phillips Collection

Katie Cooke is the Manager of Adult Programming at the DMA


What makes a best friend? There are some common traits associated with a BFF: someone who knows you better than anyone else, someone who accepts you, someone who is honest and forgiving, someone who listens and offers advice, and someone who is trustworthy. We all have best friends, so it isn’t surprising that artists do too. But it is special when two artists share that closeness because their friendship influences each other’s work. In honor of National Best Friends Day, we are highlighting some of the artistic friendships represented in the DMA’s collection.


Vincent van Gogh, Sheaves of Wheat, July 1890, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection 1985.R.80


Emile Bernard, Breton Women Attending a Pardon, 1892, oil on cardboard, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund 1963.34

Vincent van Gogh and Emile Bernard met in the mid-1880s, when Bernard was 18 years old and van Gogh 15 years his senior. Both artists were greatly influenced by Japanese art—Bernard by the simplicity and flat forms and van Gogh by the spatial effects, strong color, everyday objects, and detailed depictions of nature. The friends corresponded through mail, often sending each other drawings and discussing their artistic ideas. In 1889, following van Gogh’s highly critical response to Bernard’s Christ in the garden of olives, their correspondence ceased; however, after van Gogh’s death Bernard wrote the first published biography on Vincent van Gogh.


Octavio Medellín, Smoky Celadon, n.d., glazed stoneware, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1949.36


Carlos Mérida, Dancers of Tlaxcala, 1951, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1951.108

Octavio Medellín met Guatemalan painter Carlos Mérida in Mexico in the late 1920s. The friends traveled together and taught at North Texas State (now University of North Texas) from 1941 to 1942. Though Mérida eventually returned to Mexico, the two remained close friends and influenced each other’s work until Mérida died in 1985.


Jacob Lawrence, The Visitors, 1959, tempera on gessoed panel, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund, 1984.174

after conservation

Romare Bearden, Soul Three, 1968, paper and fabric collage on board, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund and Roberta Coke Camp Fund, 2004.11

Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence grew up in Harlem following the Harlem Renaissance and were profoundly influenced by the music, literature, and culture of their neighborhood. As young men, both participated in various community-based art classes and workshops in the area and were inspired by writer and philosopher Alain Locke. The two corresponded throughout the years, and some of their letters are available through the Archives of American Art.

Barney Delabano studied under Otis Dozier when he attended Southern Methodist University and then the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts School in the late 1940s. Over time, Dozier and his wife, Velma, came to be Delabano’s close friends. The Doziers would even come to be mentors for Barney Delabano’s son, artist Martin Delabano.

Helen Frankenthaler and David Smith were first introduced by art critic Clement Greenberg in 1950. Throughout their 15-year friendship, they not only visited each other’s studios and corresponded through mail but even vacationed together with their families. They remained close friends until Smith’s death in 1965.

Jessica Fuentes is the Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA.


Jacob Lawrence, Toussaint L'Ouverture, and Connections to the DMA Collection

Last Saturday, Logan Acton and I led a teacher workshop focused on making connections between the exhibition Jacob Lawrence: The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture and other works of art in the DMA’s collection.  We began by looking closely at the fifteen prints in the exhibition–each teacher focused her attention on one screenprint.  It was fascinating to hear the teachers’ observations about the prints.  I tend to emphasize context and the “big picture,” and the teachers focused my attention on aspects like line, shape, and color.  As one of the teachers put it–“We see history through all of the images.  We see the art elements when we look at just one print.” 

The prints in this exhibition were created between 1986 and 1997 and are based on a series of 41 paintings made in 1938.  We compared and contrasted images of the original paintings with two of the prints in the exhibition.  Lawrence made significant changes in these prints, such as including a wound on the chest of a man that is not present in the 1938 painting.  We discussed why Lawrence may have made these changes and how they might alter our interpretation of the prints.

We couldn’t discuss General Toussaint L’Ouverture without also looking at Rembrandt Peale’s portrait of George Washington.  Both men are shown in uniform, and both led revolutions that were happening around the same time, resulting in their respective countries gaining independence.

We also spent time making connections between Jacob Lawrence and artists like Renee Stout, and Romare Bearden.    Bearden and Lawrence were contemporaries, and both were very interested in showing scenes from African American life and history in their artworks.   Renee Stout is a contemporary artist who is inspired by African works of art, such as nkisi, and creates her own power figures. 

 If you would like to learn more about Jacob Lawrence and Toussaint L’Ouverture, I hope you’ll attend the Arts and Letters Live program on March 4th at 7:30 p.m., featuring Samella Lewis and Madison Smartt Bell.  I will lead a program for teachers in the exhibition beginning at 6:30 p.m. that evening.  We’ll explore the exhibition together before joining the program in the Horchow Auditorium.  I hope to see you on March 4th! 

Shannon Karol
Tour Coordinator

February Programs for Teachers

February is going to be a busy month that includes several programs for teachers that range from an Artist Talk to an Evening for Educators.

Gregory Crewdson, (Untitled) House in the Road, 2002, The Rachofsky Collection

First up is a teacher workshop on the evening of Wednesday, February 3 from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.  Artist Gregory Crewdson will be at the Museum to give a public lecture as part of the “Creativity in the Age of Technology” lecture series through The University of Texas at Dallas.  Three of Crewdson’s photographs are currently on view in our galleries, and teachers can register to join Logan Acton and me for a conversation about these works of art before joining the public talk at 7:30.  Register online to earn CPE hours while connecting with an artist who is working today.

Jacob Lawrence, The Opener, 1997, collection of Curtis P. Ransom

Our next teacher workshop will be on Saturday, February 6.  Shannon Karol will lead this workshop on the exhibition Jacob Lawrence: The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture, which includes fifteen silkscreen prints about the life of this leader during the Haitian Revolution.

Teachers at Evening for Educators

Our big spring exhibition, The Lens of Impressionism: Photography and Painting Along the Normandy Coast, 1850-1874, opens on Sunday, February 21.  On Tuesday, February 23, teachers can enjoy the exhibition on an evening when it is open exclusively for educators.  Register online to join us on this evening for a talk about the exhibiton and related programs and resources for students and teachers and to see the show when education staff will be available to answer your questions.  We hope to see you there!

Molly Kysar
Head of Teaching Programs

Jacob Lawrence: The Life of Toussaint L'Ouverture

On December 6, Jacob Lawrence: The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture opened at the DMA (on view through May 23, 2010).  This exhibition of fifteen silkscreen prints illustrates scenes from the life of Toussaint L’Ouverture, a man who played an important role in the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804).  Born a slave, Toussaint learned to read and write and worked his way up through the ranks to become commander in chief of the revolutionary army.   The prints in the exhibition chronicle not only Toussaint’s rise to power, but also the events that led to Haiti becoming the first free black republic in the Western Hemisphere.

Jacob Lawrence, General Toussaint L'Ouverture, 1987

Jacob Lawrence began creating this series of prints in 1986, but they were based on a series of paintings that he completed in 1938 when he was just 21 years old.  It’s fascinating to me that an artist living and working in the 20th century would be interested in a little-known leader of a revolution that happened in the early 19th century.  There is a great quote from Jacob Lawrence that explains why Toussaint was such an important figure to him:

 “I’ve always been interested in history, but they never taught Negro history in public schools…I don’t see how a history of the United States can be written honestly without including the Negro.  I didn’t do it just as a historical thing, but because I believe these things tie up with the Negro today.  We don’t have a physical slavery, but an economic slavery.  If these people, who were so much worse off than the people today, could conquer their slavery, we certainly can do the same thing.” (quoted in Jacob Lawrence: The Complete Prints, 1963-2000: a catalog raisonné, edited by Peter T. Nesbitt, p. 16.)

Jacob Lawrence, The Opener, 1997

We are offering a variety of programs for students and teachers focusing on this exhibition, including a Teacher Workshop on February 6, 2010.  We are also offering docent-guided tours of the exhibition; because it is a small focus exhibition, docents will be using three themes–narrative and biography, commemoration, and leaders–to make connections between the screen prints in the exhibition and works of art in our African and American galleries.  I hope that you’ll join us to explore The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture!

Shannon Karol
Tour Coordinator


Flickr Photo Stream