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Conversations Re African American Artists Before 1920

By Richard Myers
Posted: 05/08/2023
Tags: video, art
Notes by Sharon Jarrett
 
Dick Myers introduced Helane Rheingold, an Art Educator and Consultant who has developed a teaching and discussion program called "Conversations with Art".  In this program she uses pieces of art to guide participants through explorations of specific historical periods, art styles and artists. Her presentation focused on African American Artists active prior to the 1920s.
 
Ms. Rheingold used the work of 7 African American artists during the presentation.  Listening to the recording will provide access to the robust discussion engendered by the artwork.
 
The artists whose work was presented were:
 

Edward Mitchell Bannister

  • 1828 to 1901
  • Example of American Barbizon School
  • Educated at Lowell Institute
  • Won first prize at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition for his painting "Under the Oaks"
  • Founding member of the Rhode Island School of Design and Providence Art Club
  • Paintings used in discussion: "A Cityscape" and an untitled landscape.
Robert Duncanson
  • 1821 to 1872
  • Example of Ohio River Landscape tradition
  • Self Taught
  • First well known African American Artist
  • Paintings used in discussion: "Landscape with Rainbow" and "Untitled Landscape"
May Howard Jackson
  • 1877 to 1931
  • Painting and sculpture in the New Negro Movement
  • Sculpture used in discussion:  "Boy Slave" also known as "Portrait of an African" and in the present day "Portrait of an African American"
Joshua Johnson (Johnston)
  • 1763 to 1824
  • Naive Portraits
  • Self Taught
  • Portraits used in discusson:  "The McCormacks" and "Portrait of a Girl"
Edmonia Lewis
  • 1844 to 1907
  • Educated at Oberlin College
  • Sculpture
  • Exhibited sculpture "Death of Cleopatra" at 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition
  • Worked primarily in Italy saying "The land of liberty had no room for a colored sculptor"
  • Sculptures used in discussion: "Forever Free" and "The Death of Cleopatra "
Charles Ethan Porter
  • 1847 to 1923
  • Still Life
  • Educated at National Academy of Design and Ecole des Artes Decoratifs
  • Paintings used in discussion: "Mountain Laurels" and "Lilacs"
Henry Ossawa Tanner
  • 1856 to 1937
  • Educated at Academie Julian and with Thomas Eakins
  • Painting
  • Moved to France in 1891
  • Exhibited at the 1896 Academia des Beaux Artes Exhibition
  • Received the Legion of Honor in 1923
  • Painting used in discussion: "The Thankful Poor"
This presentation is available for viewing at African American artists before 1920.
 
The next meeting will be May 19th at Noon PST where we will discuss current topics of interest to the group.
 
Ms. Rheingold will return for another presentation June 2, 2023 at 10:00 AM PST. In this presentation, she will follow her engaging format to discuss important African artists. For more information and to register, visit our Events page for 1619: Coversations with African Art. Feel free to share this information with your friends who may be interested. 
 
June will be a very good month for us as during our second presentation of the month, on June 16th at 12:00 PST, we will hear from Dick Price and Sharon Kyle. Dick and Sharon are publishers of the LA Progressive, who will share their experience as an interractial couple in what promises to be an engaging, illuminating and interative discussion. This presentation will also be open to the public. 
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