- Jacqueline Francis
(b Richmond, VA, Jan 10, 1916).
African American painter and printmaker. Cortor’s signature form is the attenuated black female nude presented as the personification of the African Diaspora’s cultural richness and beauty. Born in the American South, Cortor left the region as a child and was raised in Chicago. After finishing high school, he studied painting and drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1936 to 1938. In 1938, Cortor joined the easel painting division of the Federal Art Project and worked in this Works Progress Administration program for five years, producing heroic, social realist genre pictures.
In 1944–5, Cortor was awarded successive Julius Rosenwald Foundation Fellowships that funded travel to the Sea Islands off the Georgia and South Carolina coasts. There, Cortor studied and painted the Gullah people, African Americans well-known for their retention of African cultural ways and languages.
By the late 1940s Cortor had developed a romantic realist style that generated widespread notice and praise. His painting ...