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Meet the Masters

Grade Three

ARTIST: PRINT:

LAWRENCE, JACOB (1917 - 2000)

PARADE HIRSHHORN COLLECTION NEW YORK

20th Century American Date: 1960 Size: 23 7/8” x 30 1/8” Medium: Tempera on Fiberboard

ARTIST - Jacob Lawrence, a Black American artist, was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. His family moved shortly after his birth to Philadelphia. When he was twelve, the nation plunged into the Depression and his family moved to New York City. The young Lawrence worked on odd jobs to help his struggling family. Even at that young age, he knew he wanted to be an artist.

Fortunately for Jacob, the government had set up the WPA/Federal Arts Project to help artists during the depression. Fine artists were employed as teachers in community centers. Jacob lived near the Harlem Community center, where he had excellent teachers who took an interest in him and he learned quickly. This led to an art scholarship and his first art exhibit. He became interested in history and painted several series of paintings on such subjects. He is a compassionate, hopeful storyteller. His style is expressionistic, with strong composition, movement and rich color.

PRINT - The strong warm colors - red, orange and yellow - are in contrast with the accents of black in Jacob Lawrence's Parade. Positioning the blacks between and beside the warm colors creates a rhythmical color pattern. Lawrence has added to this rhythm with the repeated diagonal movement of the people in the parade.

Lawrence's treatment of the people in Parade is characteristic of his angular, hard edged style. This style adds to the movement and rhythm and gives an overall festive feeling. The viewer can almost feel the music and the involvement of the crowd. People in the street are dressed for the event. Neighborhood people are alive with excitement and practically bursting out of their apartment windows.

PORTFOLIO F PAIRED WITH:

BOUDIN FAIR IN BRITTANY

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