Black History Month 2017 – Life Through Art – Post 4

Today we are going to be learning about Edmonia Lewis – the first professional African American sculptor.  If you saw the Google Doodle on February 1st you would have seen Edmonia Lewis.

Celebrating Edmonia Lewis

Lewis was born to a free African American father and a Chippewa Indian mother.  She attended Oberlin College in Ohio, but was kicked out after being accused of poisoning several of her white female schoolmasters.  (All of the claims were unsubstantiated.)

"The Death of Cleopatra," Edmonia Lewis
“The Death of Cleopatra”

Soon after she moved to Boston and did busts of white abolitionists.  In 1865 she traveled to Europe where she settled down in Rome. Rome was a good place for Lewis because she had access to incredible marble. She became famous for her neo-classical style of sculpture.

My personal favorite sculpture is The Old Arrow Maker which lives at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

The Old Arrow Maker

Learn more about Edmonia Lewis below:

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Black History Month 2017 – Life Through Art – Post 3

Today we will be learning about Julien Hudson.  Hudson was a freeman of mixed race from New Orleans.  He was active as an artist from 1830-1840 and was an incredible portrait painter.


One of his most important works was his painting Battle of New Orleans which documented the contribution made to the War of 1812 by the famous corps of free Black soldiers who were commanded by Colonel Michel Jean Fortier, Jr., who was white.  Now, I scoured the internet for this painting and I can’t find it anywhere, so I apologize that we can’t see it.


However, Hudson also painted the only known self-portrait of an African American artist in the antebellum period in 1839.


For more information on Hudson you can look below:

Black History Month 2017 – Life Through Art – Post 2

Welcome back!  Today we are talking about Scipio Moorhead.  He was the earliest significant Black fine artist.  Moorhead was born in 1773 and was a slave who was owned by Reverand John Moorhead from Boston.

Moorhead was most famous for being commissioned by Phyllis Wheatley to paint a portrait of her that she used as the frontispiece to all her books.

Phillis Wheatley by Scipio Moorhead (c. 1773):

Phyllis Wheatley, who was the first African American to publish a book of poems, dedicated her poem “To S.M., a young African Painter, on seeing his Works” in her book Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral.

For more information on Scipio Moorhead look at the links or book below:

Black History Month 2017 – Life Through Art – Post 1

Welcome to Black History Month 2017!

Although this has been a bleak start to the year for some of us we are still going to celebrate the greatness in Black History!

This year I am going to focus on Black art – painters, sculptors, cartoonists, and artists.  I was inspired to focus on this because since I have moved home I met a man who is a curator of Black art.  My hope is to be able to interview him for this blog so you can know a bit about his life too.

Domino Players, by Horace Pippin

Today we will start with Horace Pippin.  Horace Pippin was a self-taught artist that was born on February 22, 1888 in West Chester, Pennsylvania.  He started creating art as a child and won accolades for his craft, but didn’t start getting serious about it until after World War I.

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Pippin was part of the African-American 369th Infantry, aka Harlem’s Hell Fighters. (The entire unit eventually received France’s Croix de Guerre honor.)  While in France Pipping lost the use of his right arm after being shot which limited his ability to paint.

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When he returned he had began to produce burnt-wood panels, a technique known as pyrography, but his preferred medium, despite his disability, was oil painting.

He went on to produce dozens of paintings over the course of his career.  He was most famous for his depictions of trench-warfare, African-American life, biblical imagery, and his highly publicized paintings of the abolitionist John Brown and President Abraham Lincoln.

He was also the first African-American painter to express his concerns about war and social-political injustices in his art, and his compositions on those themes are forceful and striking.

For more information about Horace Pippin check out the links below:

The Life and Art of Horace Pippin