Trio of Jacob Lawrence Works Exemplifies His Depictions of People at Work and Play

WASHINGTON, DC—A trio of Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) works is on view at the Hirshhorn Museum. Lawrence, who was one of the most important artists of the 20th century, described his work as capturing “the events from the many Harlems which exist throughout the United States.”

Some of his most successful work was several grand series of historic moments—such as the Great Migration of African Americans from the North to the South. Lawrence also had a passion for depicting people at work and play. The trio of paintings in the Smithsonian museum’s collection captures gold miners, pool players and cabinet makers.

A master at using small fields of color to build the scenes of his paintings, Lawrence was the first African American artist to be represented by a major gallery—Edith Halpert’s Downtown Gallery in New York. His work is included in more than 200 museum collections and is among the most valuable black fine art on the market.

All photos by Arts Observer

A trio of Jacob Lawrence works from the Hirshhorn collection are on exhibit

“Cabinet Makers,” 1946 (gouache and graphite on paper).

From left, “The Cue and the Ball,” 1956 (tempera and graphite on paper) and “Cabinet Makers.”

Detail of “Cabinet Makers,” also shown at top of page.

“African Gold Miners,” 1946 (gouache on paper).

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