Aaron Douglas

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Introduction of the World Art

Style: 1934
Medium: Oil in canvas
Concept: Aspect of Negro life: From slavery through reconstruction. In this piece Aspects of Negro Life: From Slavery to Reconstruction (1934), Douglas is expressing the Negro movement by showing the transition of African Americans from his own experienced. He is showing his political activism and artwork, and revealed ideas and values given during Harlem Renaissance. The 1920s and 1930s brought changes to the lives of many African Americans. They migrated north, trying to escape from slavery, racial prejudices and economic hardships, but also to try to attain social and economic status. This migration transformed the streets of Harlem, New York, and gave rise to cultural changes of the New Negro movement. This movement became known as the Harlem Renaissance, an era that increased the awareness of Black art and culture. Many great artists contributed to the impact of the Harlem Renaissance on American culture. Aaron Douglas, born on May 26, 1899 in Topeka, Kan., U.S. was an African American painter and graphic artist who played a leading role in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. After he received his bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska in 1922, Douglas returned to his native Kansas to teach art. In 1925 he moved to New York City, where he joined a burgeoning arts scene in Harlem. Aaron Douglas was politically active through the Harlem Artist Guild. As the first president of the organization, he worked with helping artists with employment. Douglas was also one of the first modern Black artists to use traditional African roots in his works. By 1939, with the depletion of the Harlem Renaissance, Douglas left New York City to teach at Fisk University, where he remained for the next 27 years. He died February 2, 1979.
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