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African American Art and Artists
Synopses & Reviews
Drawing from historical and private collections around the country, Samella Lewis has gathered an impressive representation of the work of African American artists, from the 18th century to the present. For this edition she has provided a new chapter on art of the last decade. Handsomely and generously illustrated, this book reveals a rich legacy of work by African American painters, sculptors, and graphic artists.
"Art historical scholarship is greatly advanced by Samella Lewis's African American Art and Artists in that it foregrounds the work of artists who have been influencing the texture of art in the United States during the last two decades of the 20th century. Throughout African American Art and Artists, Lewis interrogates the issue of identity by presenting the biographical sketch, which locates the individual artistic personality within a specific cultural background with its own peculiar dynamics, giving a face to two cities of Black American art. Without polemics Lewis presents women artistsand#151;Edmonia Lewis to Allison Saarand#151;as principal players in constructing an African American visual arts legacy. Here Lewis sufficiently defines the visual arts in order that they may assume their rightful place alongside African American music, literature and folklore as cultural expressions that have helped to give American culture its distinct character."and#151;from the foreword by Floyd Coleman, Harvard University.
"Beginning with the arts produced in the Colonial period, Dr. Lewis documents and interprets the flow of creative productions of an important segment of the American population. Her book shows that the range of art produced by African American artists covers the entire spectrum of craft productions through painting, sculpture, and printmaking. There is a progressive development of style that not only reflects the trends in particular periods, but reveals an evolving pattern of indigenous qualities that are distinct. The art community in general and the African American community in particular are fortunate to have Dr. Samella Lewis, for she has developed unusual authority in the area of African American art. I know that African American Art and Artists will be of great value educationally and that it will offer a stimulating and rewarding experience to all who have the opportunity to share in its contents."--Jacob Lawrence
Samella Lewis has brought African American Art and Artists fully up to date in this revised and expanded edition. The book now looks at the works and lives of artists from the eighteenth century to the present, including new work in traditional media as well as in installation art, mixed media, and digital/computer art. Mary Jane Hewitt, an author, curator, and longtime friend of Samella Lewis's, has written an introduction to the new edition. Generously and handsomely illustrated, the book continues to reveal the rich legacy of work by African American artists, whose art is now included in the permanent collections of national and international museums as well as in major private collections.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 293-300) and index.
About the Author
Samella Lewis is Emerita Professor of Art History, Scripps College, and author of The Art of Elizabeth Catlett (1984).
Table of Contents
Introduction to the Revised and Expanded Edition
1619-1865: CULTURAL DEPRIVATION AND SLAVERY
The Craft Heritage as an Economic Resource
The Emergence of Professional Artists
Freemen and the Abolitionist Movement
Discrimination and the Problem of Patronage
1865-1920: EMANCIPATION AND CULTURAL DILEMMA
The First Major Landscape Painter
The Diverse Quests for Professional Status
American Reliance on the European Artistic Tradition
192-1940: NEW AMERICANISM AND ETHNIC IDENTITY
The Spread of the Harlem Movement
The Self-Taught Individualists
1940-1960: SOCIAL AND POLITICAL AWARENESS
Mural Art as Cultural and Social Commentary
The WPA and Its Legacy
1960-1990: POLITICAL AND CULTURAL AWARENESS
The Flag: A Symbol of Repression
Reality and the Dream
Symbolism: Geometric, Organic, and Figurative
Sculpture: Additive or Direct
Graphic Processes: Economical and Aesthetic Approaches to Communication
1990-2002: FROM PAINTING TO TECHNOLOGY: ART BEFORE AND INTO THE NEW MILLENNIUM
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