Requires Photography

Untitled

1930
Aaron Douglas (American, 1899–1979)


Dimensions

30.5 x 40.6 cm (12 x 16 in.)

Accession Number

2011.1791

Medium or Technique

Gouache on artist's board

Not On View

Collections

Americas, Prints and Drawings

Classifications

Drawings

Douglas was one of the leading artists of the Harlem Renaissance. His style is characterized by powerful, elegant silhouettes inspired by his study of Cubism, Art Deco, and African and African American imagery and history. This study draws on that history: ancestral heritage (indicated by the pyramids and sphinx in the background), slavery (the jungle foliage and chained figures), and the triumph of freedom (the broken chains on the largest figure). Rays of light and a church allude to divine intervention, and the trumpeter—who appears often in Douglas’s work—represents the announcement of deliverance and the importance of music in African American culture.

Inscription

Signed lower right: A. Douglas

Provenance

Gracie C. Jones; by 2001, with Aaron Galleries, Chicago; December 2001, sold by Aaron Galleries to John Axelrod, Boston; 2011, sold by Axelrod to the MFA. (Accession date: June 22, 2011)

Credit Line

The John Axelrod Collection—Frank B. Bemis Fund, Charles H. Bayley Fund, and The Heritage Fund for a Diverse Collection

Copyright

VAGA, New York, NY