African American Masters

Gwen Everett, Author, Elizabeth Broun, Foreword by
Gwen Everett, Author, Elizabeth Broun, Foreword by ABRAMS $24.95 (108p) ISBN 978-0-8109-4511-1
Reviewed on: 07/01/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
Paperback - 112 pages - 978-0-937311-55-4
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Admirably designed and thoughtfully curated, this slim catalogue of 52 art reproductions accompanies the Smithsonian's eponymous exhibition of 20th century black artists, which will tour the country through 2005. Encompassing photographs, paintings and sculptures, the catalogue presents some of the most accomplished works in the museum's collection, from James VanDerZee's dignified portraits of middle class men and women in 1920s and '30s Harlem to Earlie Hudnall's striking 1991 photograph of a young boy boldly staring into the camera. In Roy DeCarava's 1949 image Graduation, New York (from The sweet Flypaper of life, a book he published with Langston Hughes), a girl in a spotless white gown glides through a desolate landscape of urban decay. In his brightly colored paintings, William Johnson celebrates the dynamism of Harlem and looks back at his childhood in rural South Carolina. Joseph Delaney brings to life the vibrant crowd scene of Penn Station with a WWII era painting. Each work is complemented by illuminating commentaries written by Everett (Rising Above Jim Crow: The Printings of Johnnie Lee Gray), an adjunct art history professor at Howard University and the Corcoran College of Art and Design. Reflecting African and European, folk and modernist influences, the art reproduced here is a vital part of American cultural heritage. Full-color and b&w illustrations.
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