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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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Mode of pictorial Illusionism in which images are rendered so realistically as to deceive the eye. Practiced in Europe since the Renaissance, trompe l’oeil (Fr.: “fool the eye”) representation enjoyed two phases of popularity in the United States: first, during the late 18th to early 19th century, when in Philadephia members of the Peale family, together with artists including drawing masters and cartographers, produced trompe l’oeil paintings and drawings for exhibition at the nation’s earliest public art exhibitions; and second, during the late 19th century, when the still-life painter William Michael Harnett sparked an enthusiastic revival of trompe l’oeil. Often the conceptual themes and iconographies of these works concerned broader cultural issues of perception and representation, encouraging socio-historical interpretations.

American trompe l’oeil artists looked to European precedents for their work but also introduced novel subjects and compositions. In so doing, they recycled the particular set of formal conventions that trompe l’oeil...

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( 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 ...