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(b Topeka, KS, April 27, 1899; d Nashville, TN, Feb 3, 1979).

American painter and illustrator. He was a leading artist of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s (see African American art §I 2.). He studied at the University of Nebraska and then in Paris with Charles Despiau and Othon Friesz (1925–31). Douglas was the earliest African American artist consciously to include African imagery in his work, which emphasized the creativity and continuity of African American culture, despite slavery and segregation. He was, however, criticized by his contemporaries for his idealism. In 1934, under the sponsorship of the Public Works of Art project (see United States of America, §XII), he designed a number of murals, including four panels depicting Aspects of Negro Life for the Schomburg Library in Harlem (New York, Pub. Lib.); this work and such others as Judgment Day (1939; USA, priv. col., see exh. cat., no. 99) and Building More Stately Mansions...

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Revised and updated by Margaret Barlow

(b Philadelphia, PA, Jan 9, 1877; d Framingham, MA, 1968).

African American sculptor. Her long career anticipated and included the period of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and early 1930s (see African American art §I 2.). Born Meta Vaux Warrick, she studied at the Pennsylvania Museum and School for Industrial Art, Philadelphia, from 1893 to 1899. This was followed by a period in Paris (1899–1902) at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and the Académie Colarossi, during which time one of her figures caught the eye of Auguste Rodin. She exhibited regularly at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Her early work, with themes of death and sorrow, was characterized by a powerful expressionism. At the Tercentennial Exposition (1907) she was awarded a gold medal for the Jamestown Tableau, a 15-piece sculpture that recorded the settlement of the black community of Jamestown in 1607. In 1909 she married Solomon Carter Fuller and settled in Framingham, MA. After the loss of her early work in a fire in ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Article

Canadian family of artists, of French origin. Jean Levasseur (1622–86) and his brother Pierre Levasseur (1629–c. 1681) trained in France as master joiners, before settling in Quebec. From the mid-17th century they and their numerous descendants executed ornamental interiors for civil and ecclesiastical buildings, greatly contributing to the richness of French-influenced architectural decoration in churches throughout Quebec. Records in public archives show contracts and receipts for major new projects, repairs, restoration, statues, crucifixes, candlesticks, coats of arms and boat-carving undertaken by family members, many of whom remain unidentified. The most notable member of the family was the architectural sculptor Noël Levasseur (1680–1740), who worked with his two sons François-Noël Levasseur (1703–94) and Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Levasseur (1717–75), also both sculptors, and with his brother Pierre Levasseur (1684–1744), who was a master joiner. Noël Levasseur is credited with introducing the open-balustraded ...

Article

Jennifer Wingate

(b Terre Haute, IN, Oct 27, 1873; d Rockport, MA, June 9, 1940).

American sculptor, active also in France. Scudder developed a lively style influenced by antique and Renaissance statuary as well as by the animated figurative work of Frederick William MacMonnies . The carefree spirit of her sculpture suited the tastes of wealthy Americans who ordered her bronzes for the grounds of their country estates, and her fountains helped garden sculpture achieve a new level of prestige. She had one of the most successful careers of any woman artist of the early 20th century.

A student of modest means, Scudder learned the practical trade of wood carving at the Cincinnati Academy of Art and briefly carved decorations for a Chicago furniture factory. Her first breakthrough came when Lorado Taft hired her as an assistant at the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition. Her experience as one of Taft’s “White Rabbits” (as Taft’s female sculpture assistants at the fair were known), gave her the training and financial means to travel to Paris where she secured a coveted position in MacMonnies’s studio. She bought a house at Ville d’Avrya outside of Paris in ...

Article

( Aspacio )

(b Cairo, IL, Aug 26, 1900; d New York, NY, Sept 6, 1980).

American painter, printmaker, and teacher . He was a leading artist of the Harlem Renaissance ( see African American art §I 2. ) and studied at the John Herron Institute, Indianapolis, the school of the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and the Académie Scandinave and the Académie Moderne, Paris. He also worked with Henry Ossawa Tanner in Paris (1931) and studied mural painting with Diego Rivera in Mexico City (1936). From the European schools he learnt strong composition and the narrative power of Goya. He was concerned to amplify the problems of Black Americans, and his murals (influenced by Rivera) carry sharp commentaries on subjects such as the poor social conditions of his compatriots and forebears in Georgia, the Amistad slave uprising and the creation of Talladega College (e.g. the Amistad Murals, Talladega College, AL). In the South, Woodruff discovered and taught several talented artists including ...