Portraits of a People: Picturing African Americans in the Nineteenth Century (Jacob Lawrence Series on American Artists)
Gwendolyn Dubois ShawISBN: 0295985712;
Recently, a number of cutting edge African American artists have investigated issues of race and American identity in their work, relying on the use of historical source material and the subversion of archaic media. This scrutiny of little known, yet uncannily familiar, racialized imagery by contemporary artists has created a renewed interest in the politics of nineteenth-century American art and the role of race in the visual discourse. Portraits of a People looks critically at images made of and by African Americans, extending back to the late 1700s when a portrait of African-born poet Phillis Wheatley was drawn by her friend, the slave Scipio Moorhead. From the American Revolution through the Civil War and on into the Gilded Age, American artists created dynamic images of black sitters. In their effort to create enduring symbols of self-possessed identity, many of these portraits provide a window into cultural stereotypes and practices. For example, while some of these pictures...
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