The Spread of the Harlem Artistic Movement
Black artist previously were producing art that reflected European Influence. However it was during the Harlem movement that the artist own identity took on a new meaning. The Harlem Renaissance which began in the 1920’s finally allowed artists to analysis their own selves, their ethnic, and their culture by utilizing their heritage. This ethnic expression developed a realistic movement of cultural and Americanism. African American artists during this period began to gain self-confidence, pride, self-value, and self-admiration while they struggle for community and ethnic independence. Harlem was the place that every African American wanted to be including the Caribbean’s. Southerners took refuge in search of a new lifestyle, a new change, and a new soul. Harlem Renaissance also known as the “New Negro” movement, James Lesesne Wells, was a leading graphic artist, art teacher, and a successful printmaker and designer. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia on November 02, 1902, his work reflected the life of the Harlem Renaissance. Wells father was a Baptist minister and his mother a teacher. Wells mother was his inspiration, she encourage him to assist with her art instruction in her kindergarten classes. Wells won first prize in painting and second prize in woodworking at the Florida State Fair. “He obtained his training at Lincoln University and Columbia University and at the National Academy of Design” (96). After graduation, Wells created block prints to illustrate articles and publications such as Willis Richardson’s Plays and Pageants of Negro Life. His work was included in an exhibition of, “International Modernist”, In April 1929 the New Art Circle of Gallery owned by J.B. Neumann. Later in 1929, he was invited to join the Art facility at Howard University as a crafts teacher. He taught clay modeling, ceramics, sculpture, metal and block printing. It took him two years to convince the school that he and...
Cited: Lewis, Samella. African American Art And Artists. Berkley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, Ltd., 2003.
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