Aaron Douglas. Bio Essay

Topics: Harlem Renaissance, W. E. B. Du Bois, New York City Pages: 3 (949 words) Published: March 22, 2013
Aaron Douglas
​“Aaron Douglas was an African American painter and graphic artist who played a leading role in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. His first major commission, to illustrate Alain Leroy Locke’s book, The New Negro, prompted requests for graphic from other Harlem Renaissance writers. By 1939, Douglas started teaching at Fisk University, where he remained for the next 27 years (Biography 1).” He made numerous contributions at Fisk University. ​On May 26, 1899, Aaron Douglas was born in Topeka, Kansas. During his time in the Harlem Renaissance, Douglas helped to guide the artistic and literary movement. “He is sometime referred to as the ‘Father of Black American Art. Douglas developed an interest in art early on, finding some of his inspiration from his mother’s love for painting watercolors (Biography 1).” Proceeding graduation in 1917 from Topeka, Kansas, Douglas enrolled in the University of Nebraska, which is also known as Lincoln. “There he pursued his passion for creating art, earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in 1922 (Biography 1).” At the same time, he connected with students of Lincoln High School in Kansas City, Missouri to share his interest of art with them. After two years of bonding with his pupils, Douglas decided to migrate to New York City. New York’s Harlem neighborhood had a thriving art scene; therefore it would not take any time for Douglas to get use to New York.​Reaching New York in 1925, Douglas swiftly became familiar with the Harlem’s cultural life. He began his career in New York as an apprentice for Winold Reiss, a German artist whom he met through Charles S. Johnson. Being an apprentice for Reiss only lasted two years before he continued on to became the editor of Opportunity, the National Urban League’s magazine. “Through his covers for Opportunity and The Crisis, Douglas set forth a new vision for the black artists. His strong, geometric forms and Egyptian profiles resulted in a style later described...
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