41 Facts About Jacob Lawrence


Jacob Armstead Lawrence was an American painter known for his portrayal of African-American historical subjects and contemporary life.


Jacob Lawrence brought the African-American experience to life using blacks and browns juxtaposed with vivid colors.


Jacob Lawrence taught and spent 16 years as a professor at the University of Washington.


Jacob Lawrence is among the best known twentieth-century African-American painters, known for his modernist illustrations of everyday life as well as narratives of African-American history and historical figures.


Jacob Lawrence's works are in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, Reynolda House Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Northwest Art.


Jacob Lawrence's 1947 painting The Builders hangs in the White House.


Jacob Lawrence was born September 7,1917, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where his parents had migrated from the rural south.


Jacob Lawrence's mother put him and his two younger siblings into foster care in Philadelphia.


Jacob Lawrence was introduced to art shortly after that when their mother enrolled him in after-school classes at an arts and crafts settlement house in Harlem, called Utopia Children's Center, in an effort to keep him busy.


Jacob Lawrence continued with art, attending classes at the Harlem Art Workshop, taught by the noted African-American artist Charles Alston.


Jacob Lawrence continued his studies as well, working with Alston and Henry Bannarn, another Harlem Renaissance artist, in the Alston-Bannarn workshop.


Jacob Lawrence studied at Harlem Art Workshop in New York in 1937.


Jacob Lawrence was one of the first artists trained in and by the African-American community in Harlem.


Jacob Lawrence started to gain some notice for his dramatic and lively portrayals of both contemporary scenes of African-American urban life as well as historical events, all of which he depicted in crisp shapes, bright, clear colors, dynamic patterns, and through revealing posture and gestures.


Jacob Lawrence's first were biographical accounts of key figures of the African diaspora.


Jacob Lawrence was just 21 years old when his series of 41 paintings of the Haitian general Toussaint L'Ouverture, who led the revolution of the slaves that eventually gained independence, was shown in an exhibit of African-American artists at the Baltimore Museum of Art.


On July 24,1941, Jacob Lawrence married the painter Gwendolyn Knight, a student of Savage.


Jacob Lawrence helped prepare the gesso panels for his paintings and contributed to the captions for the paintings in his multi-painting works.


Jacob Lawrence called the set "an amazing social document" and wrote:.


Jacob Lawrence has grown in his use of rhythm as well as in sheer design and fluency.


In October 1943, during the Second World War, Jacob Lawrence was drafted into the United States Coast Guard and served as a public affairs specialist with the first racially integrated crew on the USCGC Sea Cloud, under Carlton Skinner.


Jacob Lawrence continued to paint and sketch while in the Coast Guard, documenting the experience of war around the world.


Jacob Lawrence produced 48 paintings during this time, all of which have been lost.


Jacob Lawrence achieved the rank of petty officer third class.


In October and November 1944, MOMA exhibited all 60 migration panels plus 8 of the paintings Jacob Lawrence created aboard the Sea Cloud.


Jacob Lawrence posed, still in his uniform, in front of a sign that read: "Jacob Lawrence, The Migration Series and Works Created in the US Coast Guard".


In 1946, Josef Albers recruited Jacob Lawrence to join the faculty of the summer art program at Black Mountain College.


Between 1954 and 1956 Jacob Lawrence produced a 30-panel series called "Struggle: From the History of the American People" that depicted historical scenes from 1775 to 1817.


Rather than traditional titles, Jacob Lawrence labeled each panel with a quote, either to add an individual voice to his work or inject weighted vocabulary.


Jacob Lawrence created illustrations for a selection of 18 of Aesop's Fables for Windmill Press in 1970, and the University of Washington Press published the full set of 23 tales in 1998.


Jacob Lawrence taught at several schools after his first stint teaching at Black Mountain College, including the New School for Social Research, the Art Students League, Pratt Institute, and the Skowhegan School.


Jacob Lawrence became a visiting artist at the University of Washington in 1970 and was professor of art there from 1971 to 1986.


Jacob Lawrence was graduate advisor there to lithographer and abstract painter James Claussen.


Shortly after moving to Washington state, Jacob Lawrence did a series of five paintings on the westward journey of African-American pioneer George Washington Bush.


Jacob Lawrence undertook several major commissions in this part of his career.


Jacob Lawrence produced another series in 1983, eight screen prints called the Hiroshima Series.


Jacob Lawrence depicted in abstract visual language several survivors at the moment of the bombing in the midst of physical and emotional destruction.


Jacob Lawrence's painting Theater was commissioned by the University of Washington in 1985 and installed in the main lobby of the Meany Hall for the Performing Arts.


Jacob Lawrence continued to paint until a few weeks before his death from lung cancer on June 9,2000, at the age of 82.


Jacob Lawrence's last commissioned public work, the mosaic mural New York in Transit made of Murano glass was installed in October 2001 in the Times Square subway station in New York City.


In 2005, Dixie Cafe, a 1948 brush-and-ink drawing by Jacob Lawrence, was selected to suggest The Civil Rights Act of 1964 in a US postage stamp panel commemorating milestones of the Civil Rights Movement.