Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000) was one of the most important chroniclers of the American experience, renowned for his method of combining small paintings with narrative text. His seventh narrative cycle,Struggle…from the History of the American People(1954–56), examined decisive moments in the creation and defense of American democracy and depicting the diverse but mutually linked fortunes of all American constituencies engaged in the struggle. Largely due to its dispersal more than sixty years ago, theStruggleseries has been understudied until now. This exhibition reunites the series—for the first time since 1958—to explore how Lawrence researched and interpreted the democratic debates and contradictions that created America and still resonate today.
Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggleexplores his radical way of transforming American history into art by visualizing a progression of struggle—from protesting colonists to contesting soldiers and citizens—as a succession of violent encounters and repetitions of unresolved confrontations. The paintings’ captions are direct quotations derived from historical texts such as letters, petitions, military reports, and speeches authored by named and unnamed individuals that represent signal moments in the American Revolution and the early decades of the American republic, and feature the words and actions of founding fathers, enslaved people, freedmen, women, and Native people.
- Hardcover - 192 pages (109 color illus.) - 11 x 9.5 inches